Russian President Putin Declares ‘War’ On Ukraine: Know The Threat Of War And COVID-19

Russian President Vladimir Putin today announced a military operation in Ukraine to secure separatists in the east of the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin today announced a military operation in Ukraine to secure separatists in the east of the country. In a surprise statement on television, he said, “I have made the decision of a military operation to protect the people of the Donbas separatist region.” The Ukrainian soldiers have been appealed to put down their arms and go home.

Since few weeks, predictions were made whether a major war will take place in Ukraine with Russia or not. However, cases and events are arising of war finally. Russia has gathered more than 150,000 troops around Ukraine and US Secretary Blinken went to the UN Security Council on February 17, leaving little room for hopefulness. According to reports of AP it is been said that Russia is staging “massive drills of its nuclear forces”, involving multiple practice missile launches. Hence there has been rising concerns that the longtime separatist conflict simmering in eastern Ukraine could provide the cause for an incursion.

This all is happening amid the world is struggling with the deadly coronavirus pandemic, with dramatically varied development of mutated variants of COVID-19. A new and more transmissible Omicron variant (BA.2), has just been identified and with its likely other variants will emerge in the future.

Over 4.6 million COVID cases have been reported and 103,500 deaths, with new cases increasing significantly in January-February 2022, including nearly 30,000 new cases and 310 deaths on February 16th, according to the latest available data since records have been kept in Ukraine.

What we know about the impact of armed conflicts and infectious diseases

The armed conflicts can be found in various parts of the world, caused mainly by ethnic, cultural, and religious factors. Most of them are situated in low- and middle-income countries like Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia where socio-economic and health problems are closely linked. Armed conflict has extensive variations in terms of its impact on infectious disease transmission that mostly depends on the geography, limitations on travel, health system services, and time.

Sub-Saharan Africa in particular has experienced a number of infectious disease outbreaks such as HIV/AIDS and Ebola. Ironically, relatively short civil wars affect inter-country travel, and this will limit transmission due to reduced inter-personal contacts. Longer ongoing strife, such as in the Middle East and Syria/Lebanon, will have lingering negative effects.

What is essentially different with Ukraine is that it is Europe?

While not without conflicts in its recent past (notably the war within the Balkans), this continent has not experienced an occasion with major civil disruption, destruction and casualties, and loss of human life – a minimum of not since war II. European countries along side Russia are modern societies with substantial health professionals and services, educated populations, good internet, and communications systems.

What is a certainty is that regardless of the length or nature of any armed conflict in Ukraine, it’ll have a negative effect on health systems, disrupt surveillance and response systems, and end in an uptick in known, preventable infectious diseases; even more so with COVID and any future variants. The weakened infrastructure will prevent access to healthcare and ordinary emergencies, for both civilian and military populations

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