Ukraine records new high in viral deaths and infections

The coronavirus deaths and infections in Ukraine reached their highest levels for a second consecutive day on Friday. This is a serious problem for the country that has one of Europe's lowest vaccination rates.

Ukraine records new high in viral deaths and infections

Ukrainian health officials reported 23785 new confirmed infections, 614 deaths and 61 injuries in the last 24 hours.

Kyiv authorities closed schools for two weeks beginning Friday. Similar measures were also taken in other areas where there was high levels of contagion.

Authorities blame the nation's 41 million inhabitants for rising infections due to a slow pace in vaccination. Ukrainians have the option to choose from Moderna, AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Sinovac vaccines. However, only 15% of the population has been fully vaccinated. This is Europe's lowest level, after Armenia.

The country has seen over 2.7 million cases of infection and 63,000 deaths.

Due to the rapid rise in contagion, the government has tightened restrictions. To board long-distance buses, trains, and planes, you must show proof of vaccination.

Rivne is 300 km (190 miles) west Kyiv. The city hospital is flooded with COVID-19 patients. Doctors say that the situation is worse now than it was during the waves of infections that hit the country early in the pandemic.

"The course of the disease is definitely more severe and aggressive than last year. Valentn Koroliuk (head of the intensive-care unit at the hospital) stated that patients are getting younger. "Unfortunately, the patients in our department aren't vaccinated."

Lilia Serdiuk (61), is currently fighting COVID-19. She regrets not having listened to the calls to get vaccinated.

She said, "I didn’t believe it. I didn’t even want to see the news." As she lay down on her back in a narrow mattress, she spoke to The Associated Press. "This disease is real and it's very horrible. I wish that everyone would pay attention to the news and listen to the advice of doctors.

Doctors worry that the hospital will soon be full and that there will be more patients.

"What if there were more patients?" What happens if there isn't enough oxygen? "This is constant stress," explained doctor Tetiana Pasichnyk.

In the midst of the restrictions, a black market has sprung up for fake vaccination certificates. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zeleskyy presided over a meeting to discuss ways to combat this illegal practice.

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