Tatarstan anti-covid headquarters' head on QR codes: 'The measure is not of vital importance for execution'

Today, almost simultaneously with the meeting with the president of the Russian Federation, at which the head of the federal operational centre for combating coronavirus, Tatyana Golikova, said that Tatarstan is among the regions where there is being a critical situation with the incidence of COVID-19 and the worst with collective immunity, a press conference of the republican operational centre was held. At the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan Leyla Fazleeva and head of the Rospotrebnadzor Department for the Republic of Tatarstan Marina Patyashina did not rule out the possibility of introducing non-working days a week earlier than in the whole country — that is, from October 23, not October 30. The representatives of the republican operational headquarters told about the pressure on the bed capacity, the impact of cases of acute respiratory viral infections and the inability to determine the infection in those who neglect the disease. How Tatarstan is going to get out of the “coronavirus pit” — read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

“There are questions about vaccination of residents over 60 or 65 years old”

“Yes, we occupy a good position in terms of vaccination rates in the country. At the same time, there are questions about vaccination of residents over 60 or 65 years old," Fazleeva admitted.

It should be noted that Golikova stated at about the same time that the most critical situation with hospitalisation, mortality, the proportion of severe cases of COVID-19, ventilator patients was recorded in Tatarstan, as well as in Kursk Oblast, Orenburg Oblast, Komi, Mordovia and a number of other regions. Also, the republic, according to her, has become one of the subjects of the federation, where “the situation with collective immunity is the worst”. In addition to Tatarstan, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Kamchatka, Tomsk Oblast, Stavropol Krai, Karachay-Cherkessia, Adygea and Chelyabinsk Oblast appeared in the list of outsiders.

Fazleeva called on all Tatarstan citizens to pay attention to elderly relatives by talking to them about vaccination and registration of accounts to confirm the procedure at the Multifunctional Public Services Centre or through mobile banking applications.

She assured that during the non-working days announced by Putin, the Multifunctional Public Services Centres will continue to work according to schedule, including on Saturday and Sunday, as well as all government bodies of Tatarstan. There is increased activity in the Multifunctional Public Services Centres now and even queues — generation 60+ come there to “find the QR code” after receiving both vaccinations, or to create an account on Public Services for the first time, or to restore the password in this application. Elderly people are helped by the staff or volunteers.

“The period of non-working days does not imply a fun pastime”

“QR codes are possible only when making a confirmed entry on Public Services. We have already worked out the issue of registers operating for coronavirus infection in Russia and discussed the necessary parameters. The period is not the easiest, the period is difficult. The period of non-working days does not imply a fun pastime, with vacations and joyful travels! They will be aimed at stopping the chains of transmission of the virus. So, the maximum restriction of contacts between us all," said the head of the Tatarstan operational headquarters.

According to Fazleeva, despite criticism from the federal authorities, the pace of vaccination in Tatarstan today is “good”, the strategy of mandatory vaccination of part of the population is supported by infectious disease specialists and epidemiologists. But in terms of the number of those who received the second dose, the republic is generally the second in the country.

Marina Patyashina also acknowledged that the coronavirus situation in the region “remains tense”. Over the past week, 813 new cases were registered, which is almost a third more than in the previous week. The increase in morbidity has been recorded in the last five weeks. In the first three weeks, the growth was only 2-6%, but in the last two weeks it has become intense, amounting to 38% and 28%, respectively. By the way, 125 new cases of infection were registered yesterday alone:

“We are concerned about the growth of cases aged 65+, the share of which has increased by 29% — this is 216 cases against 167 cases in the previous week. The share of the elderly among the infected is more than 26%. That is, every fourth new case of Covid-19 is an elderly resident of Tatarstan. Given that vaccination is not going at an adequate pace — one can imagine the existing risks. I remind you, self-isolation has been introduced for persons 65+ in the Republic of Tatarstan!”

Why Rospotrebnadzor considers the desire to get vaccinated with Sputnik Lite “stupid”

Such disadvantage is also added to the growth of viral respiratory infections — to date, the number of cases of viral respiratory infections has already reached 25,7 thousand. The growth of viral respiratory infections in preschool children and adults is also alarming for doctors. As a result, the alertness of the population itself is also growing that coronavirus may be hiding under the “mask” of viral respiratory infections. As a result, the coverage of PCR testing has increased dramatically: if 200-205 tests per 100 thousand people were conducted in the summer, today — 226 per 100 thousand, about 9 thousand tests are made daily.

At the same time, vaccination against influenza continues, 688,8 thousand doses of the Russian influenza vaccine Ultrix Quadri have already been received in Tatarstan, 95% of which have been used. As a result, 48% of children and 52% of the adult population have been vaccinated. The second batch of Quadri is expected in the republic in November.

Patyashina reminded again that 80% of the mandatory collective immunity for organisations and enterprises of the Republic of Tatarstan includes all vaccinated and infected in the last 6 months inpatient or outpatient. Secondly, persons with medical exemption are not suspended from work but are transferred to a regime with strict observance of personal preventive measures. Finally, even if the company reaches 80 percent coverage, the unvaccinated are still subject to suspension from work.

“I would also like to state that the desire — especially among young Tatarstan citizens — to get vaccinated with Sputnik Lite is very silly. One-dose vaccination is recommended only six months after the infection suffered, or after two-dose vaccination with Sputnik V. A single dose does not replace a full-fledged vaccination and does not contribute to the development of immunity! It is silly to lose immunity just to receive access to shopping centres and fitness halls!” Patyashina declared.

Only a third of Tatarstan citizens over the age of 60 are vaccinated

At the same time, according to the first Deputy Minister of Healthcare of the Republic of Tatarstan, Almir Abashev, Tatarstan is “quite intensively” moving towards collective immunity — 1 million Tatarstan citizens have fully acquired “vaccine immunity” by receiving two doses of the vaccine. Another 1,3 million Tatarstan citizens have “entered” into two-phase vaccination. After the introduction of strict restrictive measures two weeks ago, the increase in vaccinated has multiplied.

"53,7% of people subject to vaccination have already been vaccinated," said Abashev. “But only 35,2% of Tatarstan citizens over the age of 60 have been vaccinated.”

Vaccination is the first way to achieve collective immunity. The second is as a result of infection. However, today the situation is being tense in the Republic of Tatarstan, although “manageable”, Abashev noted. There are 6,7 thousand people in hospitals, a little more than 17 thousand people getting treatment as outpatients. This number includes the total number of viral respiratory infection cases, including coronavirus. Some medical institutions of Tatarstan are already being at maximum capacity, but the authorities are already preparing a reserve for the deployment of two additional hospitals to the 57 already existing ones.

“Every person with a fever potentially carries a coronavirus infection”

“Our morbidity rate is growing both in outpatient and inpatient units. The reserve for reducing morbidity and reducing severe forms of the disease is located precisely in the outpatient link. The governments of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tatarstan have allocated 178 million rubles for treatment [of coronavirus]. I urge everyone to seek medical help even at the early stages of viral respiratory infection or fever. After that, you have the right to receive a free prescription for the purchase of drugs that fight the coronavirus. There are sufficient quantities of these drugs in the Republic of Tatarstan," the deputy minister of healthcare said.

In the Republican Clinical Hospital, the 7th city hospital of Kazan, the infectious diseases hospital of Naberezhnye Chelny and the 5th city hospital of Naberezhnye Chelny, there is almost no free bed capacities left, as they work for the primary reception of citizens who are delivered by ambulance. Reserves still remain in hospitals with simpler bed capacity — however, recently it has become difficult there with the increase in the number of acute respiratory infections: “Every person with a fever potentially carries a coronavirus infection.”

The Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Tatarstan noted an “incomprehensible fact”: a large number of COVID-19 patients are sick today even without confirmed PCR tests, although the clinically complete picture of the coronavirus in such patients is immediately visible. Coronavirus itself is not the only cause of pneumonia, other viruses and bacterial pathogens are also dangerous. This is what requires special efforts from doctors in the fight.

Therefore, according to Abashev, the maximum number of beds in the entire history of observations has been deployed in Tatarstan today. According to Patyashina, if the patient go to hospital at the initial stage of the disease, the virus is detected in the nasopharynx of some patients using PCR tests. However, those who go there late develop “terry pneumonia” and the virus descends into the lower parts of the lungs. But such patient remains “as suspicious of Covid19" and is being treated, according to Rospotrebnadzor, according to the same scheme.

“If we are talking about residents aged 60+, we understand that this is a risk zone of Tatarstan”

“Seeking medical treatment early, treatment at the initial stage of the disease will save lives, will make it possible to provide assistance in a timely manner! Therefore, a big request is not to sit at home and not wait for complications!” Abashev urged, saying that in addition to tens of thousands of medical workers of the Republic of Tatarstan, 400 residents and 700 medical college students have been added.”

Doctors can vaccinate elderly Tatarstan residents at home in rural areas so far through village first-aid stations — 3,000 people have already been vaccinated this way. In large cities — Kazan and Naberezhnye Chelny — the elderly will have the opportunity to start home vaccination as soon as the “main flow from vaccination points” has subsided, which appeared due to mandatory vaccination and QR codes introduced two weeks ago. The applications for home vaccination, therefore, are not yet possible to satisfy, the ministry of healthcare stated with regret.

“If we are talking about residents aged 60+, we understand that this is a risk zone of Tatarstan, and here we are in the zone of criticism," admitted Fazleeva. “And 60+ is not a small category, it is very significant for us, which affects the overall state of health of the Republic of Tatarstan, and the aggravation of cases, and the period of hospitalisation of the patient.”

Businesses will be helped again — but shopping centres may be closed in case of repeated violations

The operational staff also commented on the decision of the Tatarstan authorities not to give QR codes for those who had previously been infected and with antibodies to coronavirus. The reasons for the “failure”, according to Fazleeva, is that the patient could “not pass through the health care system”. Receiving a positive PCR test does not mean, in the end, that a person was diagnosed by the healthcare system and there were entered into the corresponding “register of the infected”. Yes, there are a number of residents who have been ill asymptomatically — but there are fewer of them, in new cases, for example, only 7%.

“These people have antibodies. But today there is no code for people with antibodies that have not been entered into the register at the moment. There is only a QR code for those who have an established diagnosis in the register system of the Ministry of Healthcare," explained Leyla Fazleeva. “Sometimes there is no entry in the register, really, because of large databases. At certain points, the register as a whole in Russia experienced some problems. We are working on all these issues now.”

Fazleeva also spoke about the “peculiar results” of the meeting with restaurateurs and other business representatives suffering from the introduction of codes. According to her, the beginning of the dialogue was tough on the part of SMEs, there was criticism of the entire operating staff, “there was a conflicting discourse”.

“Of course, the codes caused some resistance. As a result, we agreed on the positions that the catering system can accept. The measure is not of vital importance for execution by residents of the Republic of Tatarstan. They will allow us to vaccinate a large number of people in two months," she explained and promised that the restaurant business, which is suffering losses, will again be given some support from the authorities.

At the same time, Rospotrebnadzor warned that if initially the Ministry of Internal Affairs can simply fine establishments for passing consumers without QR codes, then in case of repeated violation, the activities of those shopping centres may be suspended. Visiting shopping centres on non-working days announced by Putin is also allowed only with QR codes. Representatives of the operational headquarters also called on Tatarstan citizens, before going “to their beloved moms and dads, to vaccinate themselves and vaccinate their parents, helping them to issue a QR code”.

Sergey Afanasyev

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