Ukraine Capital Imposes New Curbs As Virus Surges

Ukraine capital imposes new curbs as virus surges

Kiev, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 18th Mar, 2021 ) :Residents of Ukraine's capital city will face new coronavirus restrictions from this weekend, Kiev's mayor said on Thursday, as infections surge and the country's vaccination drive stalls.

Officials have spent months resisting the reimposition of tight measures, fearing further strain on the struggling economy in one of Europe's poorest countries.

Ukraine, plagued by an ageing healthcare system, reported its highest daily infection rate in months on Thursday, with more than 15,000 cases.

In Kiev, more than 1,000 new cases were registered in what mayor Vitali Klitschko said was a "threatening situation", as he announced new restrictions would be in force from March 20 until April 10.

In a video address, Klitschko said cultural venues would be shut, sports fans would be barred from stadiums, restaurants would be limited to takeouts and large shopping centres would be closed.

Only grocery shops and pharmacies would stay open, he said.

Kindergartens will be allowed to stay open but schools will move to distance learning.

Earlier this month, Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmygal warned of a new national lockdown as the country faces a surge in new cases and deaths.

He also urged regional authorities to impose stronger restrictions to curb the spread of the disease.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has come under fire for his handling of the pandemic, with some critics saying systemic corruption is to blame for the poor government response.

Ukraine has so far received only 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine for its population of 40 million.

In the first three weeks of its jab drive, around 82,000 people received a first dose, the health ministry said.

Ukraine has recorded over 1.5 million infections and more than 29,000 deaths since the pandemic began.