KYIV, Nov 23 - President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has tested negative for the novel coronavirus after previously contracting it and spending time in a government hospital, he said in a statement on Monday.
“I finally have a negative coronavirus test result,” Zelenskiy said Reuters reported. “One way or another, I’m already at work today. The day will be busy, but I am very happy to dive into the work as usual.”
Zelenskiy’s return to work comes as Ukraine for the second day in a row recorded a decline in new coronavirus cases and number of deaths caused by the illness.
Ukraine reported 10,945 new coronavirus cases on Monday, down from 12,079 cases on Sunday and 14,580 cases on Saturday, according to the Healthcare Ministry.
The number of COVID-related deaths dropped to 124 on Monday, from 138 on Sunday and 215 on Saturday, the ministry said.
The results may be a sign of improvement following the government’s introduction of a weekend lockdown throughout the country in a desperate attempt to slow down the pandemic, which killed more than 9,000 people.
The Kiev School of Economics, which advises the government on major economic issues, forecast that up to 33,000 of Ukrainians may die from COVID-19 this year if the lockdown fails to stop the pandemic.
In the best-case scenario, 26,000 people are expected to die from the illness this year provided that the weekend lockdown slows down the pandemic.
"We recommend expanding the restrictions that currently operate as the weekend quarantine, on weekdays and at weekends. Only this will allow us to take control of the spread of coronavirus," the KSE said.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the government has been considering tougher restrictions if the weekend lockdown fails to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
Ukraine’s ‘weekend lockdown’ order will stay in effect through November 30 to stop “the progressive geometric development of the pandemic in Ukraine without stopping the economy,” according to the government.
The measures restricting social activity on weekends and holidays, reducing capacity of passenger transportation and shutting down night life entertainment, bars and restaurants. (rt/tl/ez)