President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that the emergency situation regime recently declared in Ukraine is not the same as a state of emergency and does not seek to limit citizens' rights or freedoms.He also criticised the idea of VIP hospital wards for officials amid the growing number of coronavirus case in the country. According to Zelenskyy, no such thing can take place amid the pandemic.The following is the text of the video address he delivered on 26 March, as published on his official website:
I wish you good health, fellow Ukrainians!
Our daily struggle against the spread of coronavirus in Ukraine is continued.
We are determined to overcome all this. We are inspired by your support, cohesion and understanding of the situation. We are proving once again that we are a united country. That at extremely critical moments we mobilize and repel any enemy, even the invisible one.
Now about the specific steps. Yesterday, the Cabinet of Ministers imposed an emergency situation regime for one month. This is an important decision for the health of Ukrainians.
It should not be confused with the state of emergency. An emergency situation is a temporary legal regime that consolidates the work of all authorities and at the same time does not restrict the constitutional rights of citizens.
This regime is not about dictatorship, it is about discipline.
Today, we act as rigidly as the present and future challenges require. That is why by the end of Friday, March 27, the state border will have been closed and all passenger traffic will have been suspended.
Two weeks ago, I urged citizens to urgently return to Ukraine.
Most did it themselves. Others - more than eighty thousand Ukrainians - were brought home by planes, trains and buses.
But today we no longer have time to wait. We are facing a difficult choice between the citizens who are still abroad and the safety of forty million citizens inside the country. It is our duty as a state to take care of every Ukrainian.
Those who will not be able to return within the next two days will be assisted by our diplomatic missions and Ukrainian communities abroad.
Nobody will forget about any Ukrainian who will stay abroad. We will gradually bring you back home, but taking into account the epidemic situation at your place of residence, as well as the availability of the necessary facilities and readiness of the medical system to your mandatory isolation.
We had a conversation yesterday with the local authorities. We understand the top-priority needs of all regions and work around the clock to meet these needs. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine is working on the relevant tasks. Some decisions have already been made at previous meetings, the others will be made today.
It's not just about personal protective means and medical equipment. This includes the work of critical objects in the regions, support for small businesses, continuous social payments to the population, and ensuring a spring sowing campaign. We will also do our utmost to prevent the increase in prices of essential products and goods in the regions. As the calls to the conscience of some sellers did not work, there will be a package of tough measures that will ruin the plans of all profiteers.
We are in constant contact with the regions, we are not in the vacuum of the capital’s problems and we will take care of each region of our big and unique country.
The provision of everything necessary to Ukraine is taking place 24/7.
At night, an aircraft departs from South Korea to deliver 100,000 PCR test systems.
Tomorrow we expect the arrival from China of about 200,000 special medical respirators, protective suits for doctors, 100,000 PCR tests, ventilators, a large number of masks for pharmacies.
After the return, the crew of the aircraft will have some rest and the plane will immediately depart to China for the next batch. Further delivery will be done in this mode.
The production of reusable protective suits has also been started and the first batch will be ready in three days. Today, 10,000 protective respirators are sent to the regions of Ukraine.
We have found over five million disposable gloves. At night, they will be delivered to the regions together with the necessary expendable materials for ventilators and other medical equipment.
The necessary reagents were distributed to each regional laboratory for PCR diagnostics.
The best Ukrainian virologists consult colleagues from regional laboratories both in video mode and directly in the regions.
In addition, the Prime Minister of Ukraine is commissioned to resolve the issues of so-called VIP wards and abolish all normative acts that require it.
We do not have a "Soviet Union", sorry, and there will be no luxury wards for "members of the Central Committee".
In public and municipal hospitals, no politician or businessman will have better conditions than an ordinary Ukrainian. You will stay in the wards and hospitals that you have built in this country in 28 years. Maybe then you will understand how it feels to not be able to undergo treatment in Switzerland or Israel.
Equal conditions apply to everyone. There will be no exceptions for the top officials of the state: the President, the Prime Minister and the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada.
And I strongly recommend the heads of medical institutions not to turn into hoteliers, not to trade wards or arrange staff rooms for the stay of some "bigwigs".
Otherwise, there will be sanctions.
Everyday, our Ukrainian doctors consult with Chinese doctors from Wuhan and gain experience in effectively combating coronavirus. Resolution on the increase of salaries of medical workers was approved, an hourly payment for doctors who fight against coronavirus was introduced. The task is to bring material compensation on par with our military. Today, every Ukrainian doctor is a “cyborg” who stands for the protection of the health of the entire nation. We will do everything to ensure that they are as protected and encouraged as possible.
It is also about other Ukrainians who are bravely doing their job today.
These are our border guards, military, ambassadors and diplomats, police officers, national guards and many others. This is a joint struggle where we can only win together. This should be especially clear to the people's deputies of Ukraine, who have no choice but to work today. If some of them forgot, I would recall the words of the parliamentary oath: "To fulfill my duties for the benefit of all countrymen". And here every part is the key: both "for the benefit of all countrymen" and "to fulfill my duties".
When our Ukrainian doctors work almost without taking a rest, when thousands of soldiers are in the trenches, the deputy should be ashamed to say something about fear.
There is only one fear you can have - to lose the trust of the Ukrainian people.
I urge the people's deputies to think about the adoption of important laws required by the Ukrainian economy, which will fill the budget with vital funds. The country does not stop, the country works. And you are no exception.
Separately, I want to thank the church leaders who conduct worship service online now. Thank you for your consciousness and concern for human health.
Once again, I urge other church leaders to adopt this practice realizing the danger of large congregations and the responsibility for the lives of their parishioners.
Finally, dear citizens, I want to thank those who consciously stay home and adhere to self-isolation. In doing so, you help the country.
It's important to keep up and not to go out without the necessity and without masks.
Now is the time to master all the online opportunities and teach your parents and grandparents. A platform developed by our Ministry of Digital Transformation, where anyone can watch digital literacy education series, will help in this.
Keep well, fellow Ukrainians!
I wish you 36.6! Take care of ourselves! Save Ukraine!