KYIV, Nov 26 - Ukraine is seeking a $100 million loan from the World Bank to buy doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as pace of coronavirus has accelerated again, with number of new infections reaching a new high.
"We are working out all the documents,” Deputy Health Minister Svitlana Shatalova said a press conference Thursday. “These funds will be used to purchase vaccines against COVID-19, as well as diagnostic and laboratory equipment for medical institutions."
Ukraine registered a record 15,331 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, up from a previous peak of 14,580, according to the Health Minister Maksym Stepanov. The total number of cases rose to 677,189, with 11,717 deaths.
Ukraine is expected to run out of hospital beds if the daily rate of new infections exceeds 20,000, according to government officials.
The rate of new inflections accelerated this week casting doubts on effectiveness of ‘weekend lockdown,’ the government’s restrictions that are in effect during the weekend to try to stop the spread of the virus.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said last week the government had been considering tougher restrictions if the ‘weekend lockdown’ fails to slow down the virus.
Meanwhile, any new restrictions will most likely have a devastating impact on the economy, which has been gradually recovering from the first lockdown that lasted from mid-March through mid-June.
The economy will probably contract 5.4% on the year in 2020 if the government decides to implement the strict measures, shutting down businesses and transportation throughout the country, according to the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE).
Any mild restrictions, such as ‘weekend lockdown’ will probably produce 5.1% contraction in 2020, KSE said.
"According to the estimates of the epidemiological model of the KSE, saturation/peak incidence will occur in December, which should lead to a decrease in the incidence rate in 2021, so there will be no need for strict quarantine restrictions in 2021," KSE said.
“In the worst-case scenario, Ukraine will have to resort to a strict quarantine regime comparable to the April one with stopping food outlets, providing consumer services, educational institutions, and transferring employees to a remote mode,” KSE said. (om/ez)