KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s capital Kyiv will impose a strict lockdown from April 5 amid a gloomy prediction for a further surge in infections and a record daily number of coronavirus-related deaths, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Wednesday.
Ukraine’s Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said there were 407 coronavirus-related deaths recorded in the country over the past 24 hours, and warned infections were likely to rise further over the next one to two weeks.
The country began rolling out vaccinations against the COVID-19 pandemic last month and 231,564 people had received the first shot by Wednesday, yet Stepanov described the situation as “tense enough”.
Kyiv, with the highest infection rate in the ex-Soviet republic of 41 million people, will restrict public transport, close all schools and kindergartens for the period from April 5 to April 16, Klitschko said.
“We have no other option. Otherwise, there will be hundreds of deaths every day,” he said on Telegram messenger.
Earlier on Wednesday he said 1,100 new coronavirus cases were registered in the city over the past day with 35 deaths. Kyiv hospitals dedicated to COVID-19 treatment were now 80% full, Klitschko said.
A major spike in infections last week to a 24-hour record of 18,132 prompted almost half the country’s regions to impose a tight lockdown.
Stepanov said on Facebook that 11,226 new infections were reported over the past 24 hours, pushing the total to 1,674,168 since the pandemic began a little over a year ago.
The previous daily high of 362 deaths was on March 25. A total of 32,825 Ukrainians have died from COVID-19.
Ukraine received 500,000 doses of the Indian-made AstraZeneca vaccine CoviShield in February and the first 215,000 of China’s Sinovac COVID-19 shot.
Thirty-seven million vaccine doses are expected to arrive in Ukraine in 2021 and the health ministry hopes most of the adult population will be inoculated this year, Stepanov told a televised government meeting.
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Alex Richardson)