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Ukraine opens hospitals to battle COVID-19
Journal Staff Report

KYIV, June 24 - Ukraine is opening more of its hospitals to coronavirus cases as the institutions initially chosen to accept patients no longer have enough beds to cope with a surge in infections, Reuters reported Wednesday citing the health minister.

The daily rise of coronavirus cases hit a new high of 940 on Wednesday, bringing the total to 39,014, with 1,051 deaths. Most new cases were registered in west Ukraine and the capital.

At the start of the epidemic, Ukraine divided hospitals into categories, with the best prepared institutions taking patients in the first wave. Second-line hospitals would accept cases once the other institutions had no more places.

Officials say some citizens have not stuck closely enough to guidance on social distancing and other precautions to prevent the virus spreading, leading to a surge in cases.

"With this attitude of citizens, in some regions there is a sharp increase in the number of people who are hospitalised. In this regard, we need to open the second-line," Health Minister Maksym Stepanov told a televised briefing.

Ukraine, which introduced a lockdown in March, began easing restrictions in May to help the economy.

Ukraine on June 17 extended adaptive quarantine through the end of July amid growing number of coronavirus cases during the past two weeks, de-facto delaying full reopening of the economy.

The move comes as a setback to the governments original plans for faster reopening following the 2.5-month lockdown that had hit the economy hard.

The adaptive quarantine will not be as strict as the lockdown in March through May, and allow people outside, but will require people wearing masks and use social distancing along with restrictions in public transportation and sporting events. It also allows regions reporting increasing number of cases to declare more restrictions to tame the disease.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy more than a week ago cancelled face-to-face meetings and visits and will limit his contacts to a close circle after his wife has tested positive for coronavirus. (rt/tl/ez)




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