Illustration: Vektor Kunst /

Ukraine has been hit by a minor lockdown. Many restaurants, bars and businesses are closed, and those who remain open have very strong restrictions concerning vaccination of staff and costumers. It will remain this way for a month, says the mayor.

Even in daylight hours, when it is usually filled to the brim with busy pendlers, the Kyiv Metro is empty. The metro stations smack in the centre of town are almost empty, looking like sets from dystopian thriller movies. From Monday, Kyiv entered the red zone, and that has brought some serious limitations to the lives of the unvaccinated.

Since Monday this week, passengers on the metro were required to show vaccination passports or negative COVID-19 tests. The same goes for guests in restaurants and cafés, and many cafés have already closed their seating business and are now strictly doing take away.

It is going to stay this way all November, at least, says Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, according to Kyiv Post.

“If in two or three weeks, we see the number of cases declining, if we meet ‘orange’ zone criteria, the city’s emergency commission will decide whether to ease some restrictions,” the mayor said. “Unfortunately, today, there is no such trend.”

On more than 10 different metro stations yesterday, Ukraine Nu’s reporters were not checked a single time for vaccination passports. It did happen in a restaurant, though, while another restaurant ignored the requirement.

20,000 cases a day

Hospitals are slowly filling up. The rate of recovery is much smaller than the rate of transmission. Yesterday, from 9 AM to this morning at 9 AM, Ukraine registered 19,455 new cases of COVID-19. Odesa, Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia and Kharkiv are hit the hardest by the recent wave.

In the same timespan, 12,639 patients recovered from the disease and 700 died. On a positive note, though, it seems that more and more people are getting vaccinated. 17.9 million Ukrainians have either the first or the full vaccination sorted, with around 270,000 people joining those ranks everyday.

The percentage of the vaccinated population is still way below the 70 percent threshold, that many experts have suggested should provide herd immunity. It will take weeks, if not months, to reach that number.