Measures to fight COVID-19 and aid to people in need

 

Madam Minister, what did you discuss at the today's Security Council Meeting?

We discussed COVID - 19 situation, government's measures to deal with this emergency, and prevent further spread of this virus. The financial package presented by the Prime Minister few days ago was also discussed, and of course the management of the economic situation and the impact on spread of COVID-19 in terms of the country's economy. The measures taken to return Albanian citizens have been widely discussed. It was one of President’s concerns for all those who remained outside the territory of the Republic of Albania unable to come back home, and all scenarios about them back home or people who express the desire to do so. Besides, Prime Minister Rama and all Ministers made known about the measures taken in each Ministry and all the scenarios that may be dealed with. Moreover, the Ministry of Health, that is the first on this war front, is considering the dynamics of development of events and situation.

Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Ruçi, also expressed his readiness to fulfill the obligations of the Parliament during this situation. All legal acts, informative acts or any legal initiative to enable the escalation of measures within the context of the dynamics of the situation. As you know, the President of the Opposition has also been invited, who honestly has made a constructive submission. He expressed the Democratic Party's views and his own ones on tackling the economic and social consequences of this pandemic, as well as the proposals of the opposition you previously heard.

The Presidency has announced that there is a political unity in facing the crisis. Where does it consist of?

As I said, it was a very constructive discussion, both on how to handle the situation, or on other preventive measures needed to be taken now to break the so-called infection chain, protective measures for the medical staff and also injecting food into the economy as the whole country quarantine has its economic and financial effects. The Prime Minister has invited the Opposition Leader together with the experts in democratic Party to join and be part of all efforts for finding the best solutions to deal with in any difficult scenario. For the time being it is worth noting that all the restrictive measures taken since the early hours, following the identification of the zero patient, have been positive, because they prevented the spread of the virus in such a way as to give time to our Health System to cure all those in need, get what they need, without overburdening and straining it to be impossible to offer what it has to offer in these difficult days.

Ms. Xhaçka, the Army also received a budget from the economic package that the Prime Minister presented for the humanitarian mission. What does this humanitarian mission consist of?
When we were in communication with the Prime Minister, earlier, it was a talk about 600,000 families being on social assistance, so they need state payments and the military delivers them. What is happening? What does this humanitarian operation consist of?

There are 600,000 families and individuals. So, there are also many retirees identified as a category, who besides the assistance will also receive food assistance. Moreover, all services will be provided at home. As you know, retirees are the most vulnerable category by the virus due to age-related pathologies and not to be endangered, we enable their complete isolation. All state structures through several inter-institutional levels, field teams composed of AAF effective, family doctor, social worker, or social administrator, municipality groups are in their aid. Thus, organized groups that make it possible for retirees to access retirement, disability payments, free reimbursable drugs at home and any other needs. Whatever they may demand for their daily needs, or for all the services we have to offer today, in these quarantine conditions we will offer them at home.

Let me ask you about the numbers. How many forces do you have to offer this contribution to 600,000 families? Can you afford it by yourself?

No, we will not face it by ourselves. A pyramid structure of patronage has been set up. Let's say, a Central Headquarter headed by Defense Minister, then the HQs near the Prefecture, headed by prefects. Then, there are others near municipalities headed by Mayors up to implementation groups in the terrain. These groups are formed by some inter-institutional actors, i.e. social workers and Municipal and Post Office employees, the Armed Forces, the Family Doctor and volunteers. They all make it possible in a capillary way, by a system of patronage where everyone knows who the families in care of are, who those retirees are, that do not have relatives in their administrative unit, or even children. This assistance is provided to those who are retired householders.

How many are the people alone and in need?

They are absolutely filed all over Albania. Lists are already evidenced through social services, civil registries and social administrators in the field, who have verified everyone even by mail. We know exactly where they are. Finally, this pyramid erected even with the CMD of four - five days ago, is already upheld and is functioning. We prepare daily reports. All the districts give us detailed information every day: on the number of families we have delivered food packages, on families we have assisted with reimbursable drugs or other services. Thus, we have a very clear graph of what we will do until tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, a very clear scheme of service to these families.

It is about the whole category of economic aid, especially those who are homeless, or who have lost their homes due to the earthquake; those who have no income other than the economic aid, those who have more than 5 family members and that 3 of them are under 18 years old.

So, we have categorized them, and analyzed the whole package of economic aid assisting them with food aid and packages. This is a standardized assistance, so State Reserves provide it, and municipalities provide 4% of funding as is required by the new Civil Emergency Act, and it is being spent on this purpose.

We have standardized the relief fund, it is a 2-week aid, which is abundant for a family with several members.

We are coordinating as follows: If the City Hall goes, State Reserves must not go other humanitarian associations, charity foundations, which are all coordinated in this scheme must maintain a standard of assistance. Whereas, the services we provide at the families with retirees, or individuals who receive disability payments, who are unable to get out and without any help at the moment, in this case we have mobilized all those staffs I told you, up to implementation groups in the terrain, which are inter-institutional. The Armed Forces play a special role because of the logistical opportunities they possess, people we have in the terrain and deployment of forces on the territory of the country.

So, there are aids for two weeks, and a package will be delivered once every two weeks. Are there aids distributed today?

Yes, it has certainly begun! So far, in total in these five days 26,218 packages have been distributed and 5,735 retirees have been assisted with free medicine. Of course, from the very first day that this mechanism was set up and to this day you can see that these numbers have been increased. If on the first day we were able to support 1,290 families with food packages, on the fifth day we could assist 8,000 families a day.
So, it is worth saying that it is a mechanism that is being perfected these days, it is sophisticated, completed, and fully functional.



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