Analysis of the agenda of the plenary meeting of the Verkhovna Rada which will take place on Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Tue, 20/10/2020 - 07:30

1.Address of the President of Ukraine to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the domestic and foreign situation of Ukraine (starting at 10:30).

The possibility for the Head of State to make annual and extraordinary addresses to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine about the domestic and foreign situation of the country is provided for by paragraph 2, Part one, Article 106 of the Constitution of Ukraine. The Basic Law explicitly states that this must be a message precisely about the domestic and foreign situation of the country and nothing else.

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2. Draft Resolution No. 4228 (Y. Tymoshenko et al.) (the Committee meeting is due to take place at 9:30 on October 20; most likely, it will recommend that the draft be adopted as a whole) “ON MEASURES TO COUNTERACT THE SPREAD OF THE CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19) AND PROTECT ALL THE VITAL SYSTEMS OF THE COUNTRY AGAINST THE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF THE PANDEMIC AND THE NEW BIOLOGICAL THREATS – the draft proposes that the President create and become the head of the National Headquarters for Countering Biological Threats, which will coordinate the activities of all bodies of power and establish tasks for the Headquarters: (1) set up a nationwide telephone hotline which will process the appeals of citizens having symptoms of or suffering from COVID-19; (2) raise the number of tests to 100,000 daily, ensuring that they are free and are performed within 48 hours; (3) organize mobile teams for collecting biological materials from patients at their homes for PCR testing within no more than 4 hours after a person’s request for such testing; (4) provide outpatients with free medications; (5) create a 3-month supply of PPE and disinfecting agents at inpatient facilities; and at infectious disease wards, a 2-month supply of medications and medical products; (6) introduce insurance of health care workers against infectious diseases for an amount of 31,530 UAH; (7) extend extra payments amounting to 300% of the monthly salary to nonmedical members of emergency medical teams and all employees of healthcare institutions providing assistance related to COVID-19; (8) provide for state orders at institutes of higher education for the training of epidemiologists and laboratory diagnostics specialists; (9) implement a series of measures to provide resuscitation and intensive care departments with everything they need, increasing the national capacity for the production of test kits, medications, medical equipment, etc.

It is also planned to task the Government with submitting the necessary draft laws to the parliament within two weeks, including a bill on free social advertising for measures against COVID-19, as well as to provide in the Draft Budget for 2021 for a subvention to local budgets for the full maintenance of infectious diseases hospitals, full funding of emergency medical services (3.7 billion UAH), creation of an epidemiological fund (500 million UAH), and expansion of the network of infectious diseases hospitals and laboratory centers (1 billion UAH).

The implementation of all the measures is planned to be funded from the Anti-COVID-19 Fund as part of the State Budget for 2020.

Arguments FOR: focusing the efforts of all state bodies on effective countermeasures against the coronavirus disease pandemic; a comprehensive approach to countering COVID-19; protection and support of medics; improving the state of medical support for the citizens of Ukraine who are or will be suffering from COVID-19; decreasing the mortality rate and minimizing other negative consequences of COVID-19.

Arguments AGAINST: the difficulty of implementing all the planned measures; the insufficiency of Budget funds for implementing all the planned measures; reorientation of the entire healthcare system to the fight against COVID-19 and suspension of required, including urgent, assistance to patients suffering from other diseases.

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3. Information from the Minister of Health of Ukraine on measures to counter the spread of the coronavirus disease in Ukraine – discussion of problems related to countering COVID-19 in accordance with the procedure for conducting “The Hour of Questions to the Government.”