The Governor began his report by addressing healthcare issues and efforts to tackle the coronavirus. Currently, the situation is stabilising and the growth in the number of COVID-19 cases is slowing down. Testing remains at a high level. With vaccination as a key task, 44.2 percent of the region’s adult population have received the first dose of the vaccine.
According to the Governor, a major task in the healthcare sector is upgrading the facilities and resources of medical organisations: developing infrastructure, repairs, re-equipment, and new personnel. Last year, prior to the second wave of the pandemic, a new infectious diseases hospital for 550 patients was built over a record 74-day period. Three major new facilities are at the planning stage: hospital complexes in Zlatoust, Magnitogorsk and Chelyabinsk. Over the past two years, 46 rural healthcare stations have been set up and 17 mobile units purchased.
Efforts are made to implement the programme for primary healthcare modernisation, with 20 percent of primary care hospitals upgraded annually and major repairs of 118 facilities currently underway, as well as construction of five outpatient clinics in municipalities and 27 rural healthcare stations. The region is so far lagging behind Russia’s overall indicators as regards medical personnel sufficiency, but the number of specialists has been increasing annually over the past three years.
As to the local economy, according to Mr Teksler, the gross regional product shows a growth following a slump in 2018–2019, with this year’s increase expected at 6.7 percent. Particular attention is paid to the labour market and people’s incomes. The President’s instruction to restore the number of employed by October will be fulfilled, the Governor emphasised. An agreement has been reached with large and medium-sized businesses on adjusting wages above the inflation rate.
The Governor mentioned environmental protection as a key issue, adding that efforts to implement the President’s corresponding executive order have included 16 four-party agreements on emission reduction as well as 30 bilateral agreements regarding all industrial cities and towns in the region, concluded in accordance with the regional environmental standard. In 2020, stationary source emissions were reduced by 17.7 percent as compared to 2017; the indicator is expected to reach 20 percent by 2024.