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Approximately 1,000 medical workers in St. Petersburg have yet to receive government insurance benefits after contracting COVID-19 on the job
As of the end of July, only about 1,500 healthcare workers in St. Petersburg who filed for government insurance benefits after contracting COVID-19 while on the job had actually been issued payments, reports the St. Petersburg-based outlet Fontanka, citing correspondence between the city’s administration and its health committee.
“As of July 28, 2020, the St. Petersburg regional branch of the social insurance fund (the operator [in charge of] the payments) was transferred information about 2,410 sick medical workers, at the same time, investigations have been completed and payments have been made only in respect to 1,577 [of them],” says a letter from St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Oleg Ergashev to the head of the city’s health committee, Dmitry Lisovets, as quoted by Fontanka.
Among the 60 official cases of medical workers who have died from the coronavirus during the pandemic, only two families were issued insurance payments, Fontanka reports (on the basis of the letter). The deputy governor’s office was unable to confirm the authenticity of the content of the letter by the time of publication.
In an interview with RIA Novosti at the end of July, St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov stated that 7,000 of the city’s hospital employees had contracted COVID-19 during the pandemic. However, he specified that this total figure referred to all employees, including those working in hospital administration, as well as medical personnel, at both government and private institutions.
Based on this figure, Fontanka points out that if only about 1,500 of St. Petersburg’s alleged 7,000 affected hospital employees have actually been issued insurance payments, that means 80 percent of workers who contracted the coronavirus in hospitals have not received any government benefits.
According to the existing decree, doctors, ambulance drivers, and other mid-level and junior medical personnel in Russia who contract the coronavirus while on the job are all eligible for a one-time insurance benefit. At the beginning of August, Deputy Health Minister Oleg Salagay said that the government is prepared to “consider extending insurance payments to non-medical workers.”
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