New Pandemic Fees on Returnees Divide Moldovans

Moldovan citizens returning home on charter flights organized by the authorities are now obliged - together with the cost of the ticket - to pay for a COVID-19 test on arrival under an order issued on Friday by the Moldovan Civil Aviation Authority.

The total price of the plane ticket includes the cost of the transport, food on board and the cost of the COVID-19 test. The air operator must also ensure that everyone on board has a health insurance policy.

Prime Minister Ion Chicu announced on April 1 that, during the state of emergency, any citizens or foreigners with residence permits who intend to enter the country must either be medically insured, or pay a compulsory health insurance premium of 4,056 lei [around 200 euros.]

Chicu said on TV on Thursday that the medical system "depends on the purchase of this insurance, including doctors' salaries, medical equipment and tests for COVID-19".

The main opposition Action and Solidarity Party, PAS, condemned the new rules, accusing the government of taking a "cynical approach" and of "forgetting the significant contribution that the diaspora has made to the economy of Moldova".

PAS launched an appeal on April 1 before the Chisinau Appeal Court against the decision to force Moldovans coming home from abroad to buy medical insurance.

The compulsory purchase of medical insurance for citizens abroad has also sparked lively debates on social networks among Moldovans in and outside the country.

The decision was actively backed by media affiliated to the ruling Socialist and Democratic parties, which have almost all their supporters inside the country. Pro-European parties on the other hand that have many voters in the Western diaspora criticized the measure.

"The incitement of...

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