KYIV, June 17 – Ukraine on Wednesday extended ‘adaptive quarantine’ through the end of July amid growing number of coronavirus cases during the past two weeks, de-facto delaying full reopening of the economy.
The move comes as a setback to the government’s original plans for faster reopening following the 2.5-month lockdown that had hit the economy hard.
"Given the growing number of coronavirus cases, we will extend adaptive quarantine until July 31,” the government said after a meeting. “We will also consider the Ministry of Health's proposed approach to adaptive quarantine, which provides for the possibility of strengthening quarantine in certain regions if the situation requires it."
Viktor Liashko, the Health Ministry’s top doctor, said last week the increase in coronavirus cases may be attributed to greater number of tests being done, but the extension of the quarantine on Wednesday suggests the problem perhaps is more serious.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the decision was made after 4,853 people had tested positive to coronavirus over the past seven days, the largest number since the pandemic had started in early March.
The ‘adaptive quarantine’ will not be as strict as the lockdown in March through May, and allow people outside, but will require people wearing masks and use social distancing along with restrictions in public transportation and sporting events.
“These are simple things that will save your life and protect others until at least an effective treatment protocol for COVID-19 is invented,” Shmyhal said.
The developments come days after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has cancelled face-to-face meetings and visits and will limit his contacts to a close circle after his wife has tested positive for coronavirus on Friday.
First Lady Olena Zelenska said she had tested positive for coronavirus but her husband and their two children had tested negative.
Zelenskiy on Friday urged the government to take immediate steps to find out why the number of coronavirus cases has been growing steeply in Ukraine over the past several days. (tl/ez)