Osnat Lubrani on the challenges that may await Ukraine in the context of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic

  • UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine Osnat Lubrani shared that Ukraine might face several challenges in the context of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, including food crisis, the risk of relapse, and the need to protect people at risk.

She shared this in an interview for the quarantine marathon on Suspilne (at 51:29).

According to the Resident Coordinator, the World Health Organization and the governments of many countries are currently looking for ways to fight coronavirus infection, and are considering lifting the quarantine, but this may take a long time. In her opinion, quarantine restrictions should be lifted very carefully.

"Ukraine has a lot to learn from how other countries are dealing with this, and the task of the UN here is to facilitate the exchange of this experience so that countries can return to normal life as soon as possible," said Lubrani. The UN representative stressed that this is not only a health crisis, it is also a very serious socio-economic crisis that will have a lot of impact on millions of people. "No one will be able to cope with it alone. Countries and the international community must work together with a very strong focus on the most vulnerable groups. Food security is a problem for poor countries, but it also relates to world trade and agriculture," she said. Lubrani noted that currently there is a question of agricultural workers returning to their work in the fields, however, it is necessary to continue to put safety measures in place, conduct testing, and identify cases.

"I want to emphasize that even when restaurants open and there are more activities that can be done, please protect yourself just as before, keep your distance, do not go to crowded places, and do not leave the house at all without urgent need. There is always the danger, that there will be a rise of infection cases," said Lubrani. "The second challenge for Ukraine and other countries is to protect people at risk. For example, homes for the elderly and other similar institutions. We need to protect their employees and residents," she added.

She expressed confidence that strict quarantine measures were necessary for Ukraine, and that relaxing them does not mean that the virus has gone away. "I want to emphasize that even when restaurants open and more activities that can be done, please protect yourself just as before, keep your distance, do not go to crowded places, and do not go outside in general, without urgent need. There is always the danger, that there will be a rise in infections" said Lubrani. "The second challenge for Ukraine and other countries is to protect the vulnerable. A particular focus is on the homes for the elderly and other similar institutions where the risks are higher. We need to protect their employees and residents," she added. According to her, there are also concerns about the identification of patients and their isolation, because although the number of tests in Ukraine is increasing, compared to other European countries, it remains low and needs to be increased. "This pandemic has shown that the world is not prepared enough to deal with a terrible crisis. Among the challenges is climate change, which seems inconspicuous but can have a serious impact on food security," she said. In particular, there is a risk that there will be more pandemics in the world in the future.

"It is also important for Ukraine. There is a big problem that many people in Ukraine still do not have constant easy access to safe water. For example, Roma community in the west and certain populations in the east do have problems with this," Lubrani said. She added that the state should have a holistic vision of how agriculture will develop, as well as an understanding of the challenges of water scarcity and other important issues. What is known - Earlier, the UN reported that the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a food crisis, resulting in mass starvation. - Also, according to UN representatives, the pandemic could affect people's mental health.

Media Contacts
UN entities involved in this initiative
FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
IAEA
International Atomic Energy Agency
ILO
International Labor Organization
IOM
International Organization for Migration
OCHA
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
OHCHR
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
UNAIDS
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNDSS
United Nations Department of Safety and Security
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund
UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
UNODC
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
UNOPS
United Nations Office for Project Services
UNV
United Nations Volunteers
WHO
World Health Organization