New COVID-19 restrictions in force in Ukrainian capital as number of cases rises

A medical specialist treats a patient with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the municipal clinical hospital number 3 in Kiev, Ukraine on October 26, 2021. REUTERS / Stanislav Kozliuk

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KYIV, Nov. 1 (Reuters) – The Ukrainian capital Kiev put in place new strict restrictions on Monday in an attempt to stem the surge in COVID-19 infections that are affecting many countries in Eastern Europe amid a backdrop of low vaccination rate.

Ukraine had recorded 2.94 million infections and 68,027 deaths as of November 1. Only 7.4 million people, less than a fifth of the total population of around 41 million, have been fully immunized so far.

From Monday, residents of Kiev will be required to show vaccination certificates or proof of a negative COVID-19 test to use restaurants, cafes, gyms, entertainment venues and shopping malls. The personnel working in these places must have been vaccinated.

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City officials said task forces would monitor compliance with restrictions on public transport.

Reuters correspondents saw police and members of the National Guard stationed at the entrances to the metro checking people’s vaccination certificates. Staff in restaurants and cafes carried out similar checks on their customers.

“I see all of this as a necessity because otherwise people unfortunately don’t understand. You have to be vaccinated. They have to motivate people in some way or another,” bank worker Julia Lisok told Reuters.

“Unfortunately Ukraine has one of the lowest vaccination levels and that does not bring us closer to Europe,” she added.

The government has made COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for some state employees, and officials hope the new requirements will speed up vaccination.

Neighboring Russia has also imposed tough new lockdown measures as deaths from COVID-19 hit a daily record. read more In Poland, which also borders Ukraine, the total number of cases exceeded three million on Friday.

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Reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Sergiy Karazy Editing by Gareth Jones

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Christi C. Elwood