Ukraine fights record Covid cases while preparing for possible Russia attack
Kiev, Jan 29 (EFE).- Ukraine is fighting record numbers of coronavirus infections due to the spread of Omicron, which has caused more than 37,000 new infections in the last 24 hours, while also facing the threat of a possible military attack from Russia.
“We predict between 40,000 and 60,000 daily infections in the coming weeks”, Ukrainian health minister Viktor Liashko warned in a speech to parliament, although he ruled out a general lockdown, in an attempt to call for calm in the face of the tensions affecting the country.
The latest Omicron-driven wave of coronavirus, with a much higher level of infections, has coincided with an increase in tensions with Moscow following the sizable deployment of Russian military forces near the border.
Although Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky on Friday reiterated the call for calm to a country that has been living under a state of “constant” military threat since 2014, thousands of Ukrainian volunteers took part Saturday in Territorial Defense unit training.
The units are composed of about 80,000 volunteers ready to take up arms in case of a Russian attack. Their main mission would be to support regular units in case of war and protect Ukraine’s cities.
Many of the participants in Saturday’s military training took precautions lightly, apparently much more concerned about a possible Russian invasion than the threat of Covid.
Ukraine has reported 4,017,961 Covid-19 cases and 100,031 deaths, and despite the authorities’ insistence on the need for vaccination, only about 15 of 42 million Ukrainians have been fully inoculated. EFE