COVID-19 update (non-Government-controlled areas)
Local sources reportedly confirm 7,559 COVID-19 cases as of 27 October
Total cases: 7,559 (537 deaths)
Luhanska oblast (NGCA): 1,456 cases (71 deaths). First case: 31 March 2020
Donetska oblast (NGCA): 6,103 cases (466 deaths). First case: 29 March 2020
Overview of containment measures: Luhanska and Donetska oblast (NGCA) adopted quarantine measures similar to those in Government-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine at the end of March 2020. As part of easing quarantine restrictions, both NGCA oblasts lifted restrictions on travelling to the Russian Federation and partially lifted restrictions on travelling between Donetska and Luhanska oblasts (NGCA). Yet, only people with permanent residency in Donetska/Luhanska oblasts (NGCA) are allowed to cross between NGCAs to travel to their respective place of permanent residence.
In early October, due to a growing number of COVID-19 and pneumonia cases, COVID-19 restrictive measures were strengthened again. Luhanska oblast (NGCA) introduced a two-week observation in a medical facility for people arriving from countries with an unfavourable epidemiological situation (e.g., China, Italy, Spain, etc.), apart from those travelling from the Russian Federation and Donetska oblast (NGCA). Alternatively, people arriving from the Russian Federation may provide a negative result of a PCR test conducted in the Russian Federation no later than three days before the arrival.
In late September-early October, both Donetska and Luhanska oblasts (NGCA) recommended all companies to use telecommuting and remote working modalities where possible. People above 65 years old were recommended to self-quarantine. Donetska and Luhanska oblasts (NGCA) also re-imposed a ban on outdoor mass gatherings and visitation to administrative institutions. Both oblasts (NGCA) intend to strengthen control over the compliance with the COVID-19-related restrictive measures.
To further curb the spread of the virus, in early October, both Luhanska and Donetska oblasts (NGCA) introduced remote learning modalities in higher educational facilities and announced an early school break from 5 October (first for two and then for three weeks in Luhanska oblast and three weeks in Donetska oblast). Donetska oblast (NGCA) also extended e-learning modalities to vocational and professional training schools and prolonged remote learning arrangements until 25 October. For the duration of school holidays, Luhanska oblast (NGCA) also shut down cinemas, clubs, and other entertainment facilities.
In the meantime, only two of the five official crossing points allow people to cross the ‘contact line’ (’Stanytsia Luhanska’ in Luhanska oblast and ’Novotroitske’ in Donetska oblast). On 13 October, the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) Command announced that they would temporarily close the 'Stanytsia Luhanska' entry/exit crossing point between 15 and 31 October due to the increase in prevalence of COVID-19 in Luhanska oblast. Luhanska oblast (NGCA) made the similar announcement on 16 October. To a large extent, crossings have been limited to those who have been granted humanitarian exemptions negotiated by the humanitarian community. In addition, people have been allowed to cross based on the pre-approved lists issued in NGCA. For more information on the crossing measures enforced by relevant parties, please refer to the analysis of the crossing of the ‘contact line’ below.