By Olga Tokariuk
Kyiv, Mar 25 (efe-epa).- Ukraine reported a record daily number of Covid-19 cases and deaths on Thursday as the country prepares to receive its first doses of the Chinese vaccine Sinovac.
The Health Ministry said that 16,669 new infections were detected and 362 people died from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, the highest figures since the pandemic began.
Ukraine has seen a rapid increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks with record-breaking numbers over the last three days.
According to the country’s health minister, Maxim Stepanov, this could be explained by the proliferation of the UK variant of the virus, which was first detected in Ukraine in early March.
Stepanov acknowledged that Ukraine’s Covid-19 death rate was particularly worrying. According to data from the World Health Organization, it is currently one of the highest in Europe.
More than 30,000 people have died from Covid-19 and 1.5 million have been infected since the start of the pandemic in Ukraine.
Authorities have reported that hospitals in several areas are currently at over 70% of their capacity. Seven regions and the capital Kyiv continue in the ‘red zone’ and lockdowns have been reintroduced.
During the first month of its mass vaccination campaign, Ukraine has inoculated 155,587 people, less than 0.5% of the population.
The government has been accused of poor communication and organization in the rollout.
Widespread refusals to get the jab among medical workers and military personnel, first to be offered the vaccine, has meant that only a third of the members of these priority groups have been inoculated so far.
Ukraine has been struggling to secure enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for its 41 million inhabitants and has turned to India and China for supplies.
The first 700,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac’s vaccine are set to arrive on Thursday.EFE-EPA