Foto: Emil Filtenborg

The number of Covid-19 cases are increasing around Ukraine, making the health authorities worried that Ukraine is entering a new wave. 

The Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko is considering implementing a yellow threat level around Ukraine due to the increased number of Covid-19 cases around the country, Ukrinform reports. The yellow threat level is set to cover the whole country. 

“Today we had several government meetings and conferences, which clearly show that Ukraine has already exceeded the indicators that can switch the country from a green level of epidemic threat to a yellow one. We have filed a motion from the Ministry of Health to the Cabinet, which will consider our appeal, and, most likely, next Monday (the 14th of September) Ukraine will move to the yellow level of epidemic threat. Additional restrictions will be set, provided for the yellow level and related primarily to mass events,” Liashko said.

Ukraine recorded only 773 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, but the country has recorded more than 2,000 daily cases for several days in a row, which is much higher than in the summer months. Most people are affected in Kyiv and in Western and Southern Ukraine. 

Sharp rise in new COVID-19 cases

Will be a mild lockdown

Despite the warning of a limited lockdown on Monday, Liashko said that Ukraine isn’t considering a large lockdown at this point. Switching to a yellow threat level only means that there will be restrictions in place for mass events, while schools can continue as normal as long as 80 percent of the staff is vaccinated. However, Liashko doesn’t rule out a more harsh lockdown in the future. 

It will, however, not be a nationwide lockdown, but will be regional, depending on the Covid-19 cases in each region. It has been the system in Ukraine for some time. Liashko made it clear that no region qualifies for a harsh lockdown at this point. 

The minister also said that vaccines are the only way to fight the pandemic and will be required in some institutions if they want to stay open such as in schools. 

“If this rule isn’t met, schools switch to online mode. For the yellow level, those who got the first vaccine dose (are allowed), and for the red level – a full vaccination course is mandated.”

Only 11 percent of Ukraines beds with oxygen supply are currently occupied, said Liashko, which means that there is no immediate threat to the health system at this point. 

The slow process of vaccines

More than 4 million Ukrainians have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 1.4 million people have received the first of the two doses. Ukraine has been vaccinating since the end of February.

Out of a population of roughly 40 million Ukrainians, an eighth have now been either vaccinated or has started the vaccination process. 46,826 people was vaccinated with the first dose yesterday, while 105,946 received the second dose.

At this rate, it will still take more than a year to fully vaccinate the Ukrainian population, not accounting for vaccine scepticism and availability of the vaccine. However, in five months, the first vaccinated Ukrainians will likely start needing booster shots.