Ukraine again reports record high daily coronavirus cases

·2 min read

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine on Thursday reported another record high number of new coronavirus infections, part of an infection surge amid widespread reluctance among the population to get vaccinated.

The Health Ministry reported 27,377 new infection cases over the past day, about 500 more than the previous high tallied last week. The ministry said 699 people died, bringing the overall toll to 70,146 deaths and more than 3 million cases in the country of 41 million.

Although four vaccines are available in Ukraine — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Sinovac — only about 17% of the population has been fully vaccinated, which is Europe’s second-lowest rate after Armenia.

More than a thousand people blocked streets in the center of the capital Kyiv on Wednesday, protesting against COVID-19 vaccine certificates and other measures aimed at halting the spread of the virus.

The rally was in response to restrictions that require teachers, government employees and other workers to get fully vaccinated by Nov. 8 or have their salaries suspended.

Last week, Ukrainian authorities also started requiring proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results for people boarding airplanes, trains and long-distance buses.

New government regulations and restrictions have spawned a booming black market for counterfeit documents. Fake vaccination certificates are selling for the equivalent of $100-300, and there have been reports of a fake version of a government digital app with fake certificates already installed.

Authorities have opened 1,065 criminal cases over the distribution of fake certificates involving 80 doctors and 35 travel agencies. Police have blocked 40 websites that offered fake certificates.

Parliament has proposed to make the use and production of fake certificates a separate criminal offence, punishable by up to three years in prison or a fine of about $6,460.

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Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

Yuras Karmanau, The Associated Press

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