KYIV, Nov 30 – Ukraine is actively discussing tougher lockdown measures after November weekend restrictions has failed to slow down the pandemic, turning the country into one of the fastest growing COVID-19 regions in the world.
Although is no decision has been made yet on the scope of the measures, an idea has been suggested to introduce a stay-at-home order between December 24 and January 15 to slow down COVID-19.
This comes as the weekend restrictions have expired on Monday bringing little to stop the pandemic, and the Health Ministry said it will not even try to extend them into December.
“We did not achieve the effect we expected at the beginning,” Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said in an interview with Ukrayina-24 television. “Ukrainians did not comply with the quarantine in full.”
Ukraine registered 16,294 new COVID-19 cases on Friday before the number of cases had declined to 12,978 on Saturday and to 9,946 on Monday, according to the ministry. Ukraine would run out of hospital beds if the number of daily cases increases to 20,000, according to government officials.
So far 12,327 people died from COVID-19 complications in Ukraine since the pandemic had started in early March, according to the ministry.
In the worst-case scenario, the number of deaths may grow to 33,000 this year of the government fails to stop the pandemic, according to the Kyiv School of Economics. If the government is moderately successful with the measures, the number of deaths will stabilize at 17,000 in 2020, KSE said.
“We need to make realistic predictions to understand whether our medical system and our economy can withstand the strain,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday at a conference call with regional leaders.
“We have developed an economic assistance program, we are constantly improving the health care system,” Zelenskiy said. “Both businesses and people need to be prepared if the government believes that harsh quarantine cannot be avoided.”
David Arakhamia, the leader of Zelenskiy’s Servant of the People group in Parliament, said any strict measures to be announced in Ukraine will have regional differences depending on the spread of the pandemic in a region.
“We were talking about when and whether there will be a lockdown, what kind of lockdown,” Arakhamia said in an interview with ICTV. “The prime minister said this is not going to be kind of lockdown we had in the spring, and would allow regions to exit lockdown depending on their pandemic rate.”
Any tough restrictions will have a grave impact on small and medium size businesses, probably leading to an economic contraction of 5.4% on year in 2020, according to KSE. However, mild restrictions will probably produce a 5.1% contraction in 2020, KSE said. (om/ez)