Kyiv is seeing a rapid increase in new coronavirus cases, as another Covid-19 wave is gripping Ukraine. The capital detected 1,919 new daily cases on Jan. 25, the highest number since early November.
Kyiv also registered the highest number of Covid-19 deaths compared to any region in Ukraine on the same day: Out of 141 people who died of Covid-19 on Jan. 25, 13 were in Kyiv.
Although the capital is still in the yellow restriction zone, or the second least strict quarantine level which requires basic anti-epidemic measures, its latest Covid-19 numbers show that it’s one step away from Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, which is currently in the strictest red restriction zone.
Health Ministry announced the beginning of a new Covid-19 outbreak earlier on Jan. 19. The ministry expects this wave to peak in February.
Since the highly transmissible Covid-19 variant Omicron was first detected in Ukraine on Dec. 18, the strain has reportedly spread in 17 out of 24 oblasts. However, Health Minister Viktor Lyashko said on Jan. 24 that Omicron hasn't yet become the dominant variant in Ukraine.
The ministry identified western Ukraine, specifically Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, as the epicenter of the new outbreak. The region entered the red restriction zone on Jan. 24.
Ivano Frankivsk Oblast will soon be followed by Rivne Oblast which will enter the red zone on Jan. 27, according to the Health Ministry.
Meanwhile, Lviv authorities decided to tighten quarantine restrictions starting on Jan. 26, to “prevent it entering the red zone.” Both Rivne and Lviv oblasts have seen an increase in new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations over the past three days.
The red zone rules stipulate that most non-essential shops and venues must ask to see a Covid-19 vaccination certificate, negative PCR or antigen test, or a certificate of recovery before allowing entry. Educational institutions with a staff vaccination rate of less than 100% must stop operating.
Currently, 13 out of 24 oblasts are in the orange zone, the second strictest quarantine zone in Ukraine. Ten oblasts and the city of Kyiv are in the yellow zone.
Although the infection rate has been growing for the last three weeks, the number of hospitalizations is twice lower compared to the outbreak in the spring of 2021. According to Lyashko, the low hospitalization rate is observed due to nationwide vaccination.
However, the vaccination rates remain low in Ukraine. The country has fully vaccinated only 14.5 million people, or 38% of its general population and 46% of its adult population.
Ukrainians and foreigners can get vaccinated at one of the mass vaccination centers or a local clinic. See the list here.