Primary schools close as Kiev tightens coronavirus restrictions



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New coronavirus restrictions, including elementary school closures and travel restrictions, took effect Monday in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, as infections soared.

Authorities last month reintroduced anti-virus restrictions in the city of three million people. These were stepped up with the closure of primary schools and kindergartens on Monday and only essential workers such as doctors were allowed to use public transport.

Kiev is “very close” to “the collapse of the medical system,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko told Ukrayina 24 television.

“Today our hospitals are almost completely full,” he said, adding that seven out of ten cases in the capital required hospitalization.

Kyiv officials said they have issued more than 430,000 travel cards for essential workers.

Police checked passengers for special passes before letting them take buses and trams, and taxi fares have skyrocketed due to curbs.

Authorities had resisted the tightening of restrictions for months, fearing further strain on the ailing economy of one of Europe’s poorest countries.

Since March 20, cultural venues and major shopping malls in Kiev have been closed and restaurants limited to take-out.

In Kiev, more than 400 new cases and 32 deaths linked to the coronavirus have been recorded in the past 24 hours, Klitschko said on Telegram on Monday.

Ukraine, which suffers from an aging healthcare system, reported the highest number of daily infections since the start of the pandemic on Saturday, with more than 20,000 cases.

The country of 40 million people has recorded more than 1.7 million COVID infections and more than 34,000 deaths.

He has so far received only 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine and 215,000 doses of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine.

Ukraine launched a vaccination campaign in late February, later than many other European countries, and more than 290,000 people received a first dose.

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