Ukraine sees record virus deaths, new curbs in Kiev

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Ukraine on Wednesday reported a record number of new coronavirus deaths and daily hospitalisations and announced new anti-virus curbs in the capital Kiev from next week.

Over the past 24 hours the ex-Soviet country has recorded 11,226 virus infections and 407 deaths, a new daily high.

"The situation with coronavirus disease remains quite tense," said Health Minister Maksym Stepanov.

The numbers hospitalised also set a new daily record at 5,558, a major burden for Ukraine's ageing healthcare system.

Earlier this month, authorities re-introduced anti-virus restrictions in the capital Kiev and on Wednesday Mayor Vitali Klitschko announced tougher curbs from April 5.

Schools and kindergartens would be closed until April 16, Klitschko said in a Facebook post.

"I hope that Kiev residents will finally understand that they cannot ignore the rules and pretend that there is no virus," Klitschko said.

"We are trying to save you! Understand this please!"

Since March 20 cultural venues and large shopping centres in Kiev have been shut and restaurants limited to takeouts.

From Monday, will only be available to "essential" workers such as doctors and firefighters.

The country of 40 million launched a vaccination campaign at the end of February following delays that sparked criticism of President Volodymyr Zelensky's policies.

More than 230,000 people have so far received a first dose.

Ukraine has received 500,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine marketed under the name Covishield and produced in India.

Many Ukrainians, including who are first in line to receive the vaccine, are sceptical of Covishield, which has been criticised on for being produced in India rather than the West.

Ukraine has also received 215,000 doses of China's CoronaVac vaccine but its rollout is not expected to begin before next week.

Over 1.6 million infections and more than 32,000 deaths have been recorded in Ukraine during the pandemic.

© 2021 AFP

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