• Most health facilities in the Government-controlled area (GCA) of eastern Ukraine lack capacity to collect samples for COVID-19 tests.
• Unemployment and vulnerability are increasing across Ukraine as quarantine measures remain in place. Unemployment is feared to be much higher in the conflict-affected oblasts of eastern Ukraine compared with the rest of the country.
• Since the closure of all entry/exit crossing points (EECPs) on 21 March through the end of April, over 325 people were granted humanitarian exemptions to cross the ‘contact line.’ Crossings took place in both directions at EECPs in both Donetska and Luhanska oblasts, which were put in place in part due to advocacy efforts of the UN and humanitarian partners.
• While most humanitarian response activities are able to continue during the period of quarantine measures, some have been halted due to the repurposing of existing resources for COVID-19 response.
• The ability of humanitarian organizations to organize humanitarian aid convoys through the ‘contact line’ to the non-Government controlled area (NGCA) remains limited, with only two UNorganized convoys reaching Donetsk (NGCA) since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in March. The Government of Ukraine and entities in Luhanska oblast (NGCA) have recently approved the delivery of humanitarian aid to Luhanska oblast (NGCA) through the EECP ‘Stanytsia Luhanska,’ which does not have the capacity for trucks and requires goods to be transferred manually.
Public health situation:
• Most health facilities in eastern Ukraine (GCA) have no capacity to collect samples for COVID-19 tests that need to be transported to a laboratory. While most (76 per cent) secondary and tertiary facilities reported being able to perform Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT), 68 per cent of facilities, especially in rural areas, had none of the required resources for collecting samples that need to be transported to a laboratory. Moreover, five out of 18 designated hospitals reportedly did not have the capacity or equipment required to collect samples.
• A hospital in Luhansk (NGCA) is facing a COVID-19 outbreak. Reportedly, several medical staff members, including the Chief Medical Officer, his secretary and driver, tested positive for COVID-19. Earlier, the hospital’s outpatient department had been closed due to ‘increased number of patients and contact persons.’
• Inadequate integration of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services into infection, prevention and control (IPC) measures of healthcare facilities puts the COVID-19 response at risk. A medical response to the COVID-19 pandemic, without adequate integration of WASH services, risks IPC measures not being implemented. A significant scaling up of WASH services at healthcare facilities is necessary to support prevention and control measures and to avoid the disruption in health services’ provision.
• Humanitarian actors face significant challenges with transporting medical and lab equipment to Luhanska oblast (NGCA) due to the closure of EECPs as well as internal access restrictions in NGCA. A number of humanitarian organizations stand ready to deliver relief items, including those related to COVID-19, to Luhanska oblast (NGCA). With the recent indication that assistance will be permitted to be hand-carried through the EECP ‘Stanytsia Luhanska,’ coordination efforts to plan the first movement