Ukraine reports sharp increase in COVID-19 cases

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KYIV, Jan 20 (Reuters) – The number of new coronavirus infections in Ukraine has more than doubled over the past three days and reached 18,479 cases as of Jan. 20, the country’s health ministry said on Thursday.

The ministry reported 12,815 cases on Jan. 19 and 8,558 cases on Jan. 18.

Ukrainian health authorities said they expected a new wave due to the Omicron coronavirus variant in late January and in February.

Following several periods of strict restrictions, the average daily number of coronavirus cases in Ukraine fell in early January to about 4,000 from more than 10,000 in early December.

Ukraine this month offered booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines to all adults, with the first case of Omicron detected in the country in December.

In the country of 41 million people, only 14.3 million have received two doses of the vaccines. Ukraine recorded 98,843 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with a total of 3.8 million coronavirus cases.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

Photo – A man wearing a protective mask against COVID-19 walks past a street advertising in downtown Kiev, Ukraine. EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

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