KIEV: Ukraine’s capital on Friday reimposed restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus as the ex-Soviet nation reported record COVID-19 deaths and cases for the second day in a row.
A government tally registered a record 23,785 new infections and 614 daily deaths in the ex-Soviet nation, which has an under-resourced public health service.
Authorities warned that the worst was yet to come.
“Dear friends, we are now just approaching this peak,” said Oleksiy Danylov, the head of the national security and defence council.
“This is a very scary situation,” he told reporters on Friday.
He blamed widespread anti-vaccine sentiment in the country for the spike in cases and deaths, adding that Ukraine could soon see more than 1,000 people die from the virus each day.
Kiev pupils will stay away from school for the next two weeks, with the first seven days coinciding with national school holidays.
Kindergartens are allowed to remain open if all their employees have been vaccinated. Kiev authorities may also announce the temporary closure of retail, sporting and entertainment venues.
Authorities in the country of around 41 million people initially struggled to source vaccines and convince Ukrainians to get a jab.
The vaccination campaign has also been hampered by the proliferation of fake vaccination certificates.
“Fake tests and COVID certificates take the lives of Ukrainians,” Health Minister Viktor Lyashko told lawmakers earlier Friday.
“If you choose to die, to lose your loved ones by buying fake documents, this is your right, but wearing an oxygen mask in intensive care, patients admit that they have not been vaccinated.”
Badly hit regions have imposed vaccine certificates for entry to public places including restaurants and cinemas, sparking a wave of people getting inoculated.
Officials on Friday said that 269,666 people had been vaccinated over the past 24 hours — the highest figure since the beginning of Ukraine’s vaccination drive in February.
Four vaccines including AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna are available in Ukraine, but only 16.5 percent have been fully vaccinated.
Ukraine has recorded more than 2.7 million coronavirus cases and 63,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.