Confrontation at Vladikavkaz hospital: “I don’t believe in coronavirus”
Nine people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in North Ossetia–Alania, and one has died. But at the same time, groups of coronavirus deniers are becoming more and more active.
On April 7, several people attempted to break into a city hospital in Vladikavkaz, demanding that they show evidence of the existence of COVID-19.
The video, shot on a mobile phone, shows several people arguing with the guards blocking their entrance.
A male voice off-screen asks:
“Are there really patients here? If so, how can I protect myself, my family? I can’t get an answer to these questions. I have three children, but I do not know what should I do. I do not believe there are any coronavirus patients.
Among those who are trying to break into the hospital is a young woman. She interrogates the guard:
“How do they act, what are the symptoms of coronavirus? Well, show us the patients with coronavirus, where are they? ”
This confrontation coincided with the news of the first coronavirus death in the republic. The victim was reportedly 83 years old and had chronic illnesses. His sample tested positive for COVID 19 at the laboratory of the Center for Hygiene and Epidemiology of North Ossetia.
Family members of the deceased are under medical supervision.
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Opera singer Cheldiev summons people to rally “to end tales of the coronavirus”
Judging by the comments on social networks, many in Vladikavkaz do not believe COVID-19 exists.
One of the leaders of the denial movement in the area is former opera singer Vadim Cheldiev. He aggressively criticizes the authorities and the police and urges people not to believe “in tales of a pandemic.”
Earlier, the head of North Ossetia, Vyacheslav Bitarov, said that doctors who save patients with coronavirus will be paid 300 thousand rubles [about $ 14 thousand].
Cheldiev claims that since the doctors were “well paid, they are sitting in isolation, hiding their faces from the public and letting the money roll in.”
Cheldiev urges the public not to comply with the self-isolation requirements, and to instead attend a protest rally on April 20.
Many Ossetian bloggers are criticizing him. April 20 will apparently be the day we found out how many people believe in this “power conspiracy.”
Reducing self-isolation measures to support the economy
An official quarantine regime has yet to be declared in the Russian Federation. But the federal government gave the regions the right to decide independently what measures to take to counter the epidemic.
North Ossetia has announced a republic-wide work holiday until April 19 and are urging the population to stay at home.
Local large business decided to help doctors and created a special fund.
Several officials involved in business ventures donated 1 million rubles each [approximately $ 13,500].
The administration of the Bavaria Group, owned by son of North Ossetian head Vyacheslav Bitarov, immediately contributed three million rubles [about $ 40 thousand].
But small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in North Ossetia say that they are still suffering big losses.
And many residents of the republic are frightened by the rising price of food and basic necessities, as well as the mass layoffs.
How many of them join the protest on April 20 remains to be seen.
And on April 7, the government announced plans to soften the self-isolation regime in order to support the economy.
It is anticipated that operations will resume in several different industries, and that sanitary standards will be much stricter.
This decision is clearly connected to Moscow, since on the same day, President Vladimir Putin spoke about the possibility of reducing the number of non-working days, despite the fact that the number of infections is growing rapidly in Russia.
Between April 6-7, in a 24-hour period Russia reported 1,124 new coronavirus cases. This brings the total number of infections in the country to 7,497 – 58 of them have died.
On April 7, North Ossetia reported 9 cases of coronavirus, 683 people in self-isolation, and 852 whose period of mandatory self-isolation expired.