Ukraine shut schools located in coronavirus red zone hotspots yesterday.
Ukraine ordered shut schools in coronavirus hotspots on Friday, October 22. At the same time, the government announced a requirement for vaccine certificates or negative tests to access public transport in the capital, after COVID-19 deaths hit a record high.
Schools in the Ukraine capital of Kyiv were ordered to close yesterday for a two-week holiday. In other “red zone” areas of high infection, schools will be permitted to reopen but only if all teachers and other staff have been vaccinated.
One of Europe’s poorest countries, Ukraine fell behind in the race for vaccine supplies this year and so far only managed to fully vaccinate 6.8 million out of a population of 41 million.
Infections in the country have soared after a lull in the summer. Official data revealed a record 614 new deaths related to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, up from 546 on Thursday, October 21.
Countries in Eastern Europe, including both former Soviet states and ex-communist members of the EU, have many of the continent’s lowest vaccination rates. Several have experienced record-setting waves of infection, with some of the highest death rates in the world in recent days.
In a bid to combat vaccine hesitancy, Ukraine has made vaccinations compulsory for some government employees such as teachers. The unvaccinated face restrictions on access to restaurants, sports and other public events.
“I will make unpopular decisions to protect the lives of Ukrainians. We must do what is expected of us today – to convince people to vaccinate,” said Health Minister Viktor Lyashko to parliament.
Ukraine has received around 25 million doses and expects an additional 16 million by the end of the year, Lyashko said. The government has also managed to secure additional oxygen supplies from neighbouring Poland, Lyashko said.
Additional vaccination centres have been opened up, including at railway stations. The western city of Lviv has announced more curbs are likely there. Parliament could also make vaccinations compulsory for lawmakers wishing to enter the building.
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