New COVID-19 restrictions in force in Ukraine’s capital amid spike in cases

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The Ukrainian capital Kyiv implemented tough new restrictions on Monday in an attempt to stem a surge in COVID-19 infections that is affecting many countries across eastern Europe amid a low take-up of vaccinations.

Ukraine had registered 2.94 million infections and 68,027 deaths as of Nov. 1. Only 7.4 million people, or less than a fifth of the total population of around 41 million, has been fully vaccinated so far.

From Monday residents of Kyiv will have to present vaccine certificates or evidence of a negative COVID-19 test to use restaurants, cafes, gyms, entertainment facilities and shopping malls. Staff working in those places must have been vaccinated.

City authorities have said special teams will monitor compliance with the restrictions on public transport.

Reuters correspondents saw police and National Guard members stationed at entrances to the metro checking people’s vaccination certificates. Restaurant and cafe staff carried out similar checks on their customers.

“I consider all this a necessity because otherwise people unfortunately do not understand. You need to be vaccinated. They need to motivate people somehow,” Julia Lisok, a bank employee, told Reuters.

“Unfortunately Ukraine has one of the lowest levels of vaccination and this does not bring us closer to Europe,” she added.

The government has made vaccinations against COVID-19 compulsory for some state employees, and authorities hope the new requirements will speed up vaccination.

Neighbouring Russia has also imposed tough new lockdown measures as COVID-19 deaths hit a record daily high.  In Poland, which also borders Ukraine, the total number of cases passed three million on Friday.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Sergiy Karazy Editing by Gareth Jones

Photo – Ukrainians wearing protective masks as protection against COVID-19 travel on a Metro in Kiev, Ukraine, 01 November 2021. Since 01 November 2021, in order to travel on public transport, visit shopping malls, sports centers, public events, restaurants, and so on in Kiev a person needs to have a certificate of vaccination against coronavirus or a fresh test for COVID-19. EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

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