KYIV, June 18 – Ukraine on Thursday reported a record number of daily coronavirus cases as Healthcare Minister Maksym Stepanov said there was “total anarchy” among people refusing to follow social distancing rules.
The cases continued to rise even as the government had extended ‘adaptive quarantine’ through the end of July, de-facto delaying the full reopening of the economy.
Ukraine reported 829 new cases on Thursday, up from 758 on Wednesday and 656 on Tuesday, which compares with between 300 and 400 cases reported daily between March and May.
The total cumulative number of people infected with coronavirus rose to 34,063 on Wednesday, with 966 deaths reported since the pandemic started, according to the National Security and Defense Council.
“The main thing is that in order to stop this growth it is necessary to follow the recommendations of the ministry,” Stepanov said in a television interview on Thursday. “Sometimes we see total anarchy in respect to the rules that we recommend.”
“Look at what is happening on the streets, in restaurants, clubs, bars, on the beaches in Odesa,” Stepanov said. “Of course, it’s difficult to control coronavirus disease this way.”
Meanwhile, the sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Ukraine has moved the country from the "green" to the "red" zone, according to the definitions of the Healthcare Ministry. This indicates that the rate of COVID-19 cases exceeds 40 active cases per 100,000 people.
The Health Ministry said the number of Ukrainians suffering from COVID-19 is currently 17,650, which taking into account the country's population of 43.74 million people used by ministry equals an incidence rate of 40.3.
The increase is significant as the government is looking at these specific data in other countries to identify whether to re-open air travel to those countries.
Ukraine reopened indoor restaurants and domestic air travel on June 5, while most recreational areas reopened on June 10 and international air travel on June 15.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the decision to extend the quarantine through July 31 was needed to slow down the spread of the disease.
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.
However, it also gives power to local authorities to declare stricter quarantine measures if the number of coronavirus cases increases significantly. (tl/ez)