Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and chief of staff Andriy Yermak have recovered from the COVID-19, the disease that has killed over 11,000 Ukrainians since March.
On Nov. 23, Zelensky announced in a video message on Facebook that he had received a negative COVID-19 test, over 10 days after being hospitalized at the Feofaniya Clinical Hospital with Yermak on Nov. 12.
In his video, the president stressed the importance of face masks and social distancing to prevent the spread of the disease. He is now back at his office on Bankova Street, he said.
Yermak also reported receiving a negative coronavirus test on Nov. 23, saying that he is back to his normal work schedule.
Neither the president nor his chief of staff reported experiencing complications from the virus.
Zelensky and Yermak announced that they had contracted the virus on Nov. 9. That same day, Ukraine’s Minister of Finance Sergiy Marchenko and Minister of Defense Andriy Taran also received positive coronavirus tests. On Nov. 12, Taran reportedly tested negative.
COVID-19 has been spreading through Ukraine’s government — both national and local — for months, with many state officials announcing they have contracted the virus.
The newly elected mayors of three Ukrainian cities – Boryspil, Konotop and Novgorod-Siversky — died from COVID-19 shortly after the country’s Oct. 25 local elections, and the incumbent mayor of Mykolaiv, Oleksandr Senkevych, was hospitalized in severe but stable condition on Nov. 9. Parliament Speaker Dmytro Razumkov is also self-isolating at home after contracting the virus on Nov. 11.
Even Health Minister Maksym Stepanov is now working from home after getting sick with the novel coronavirus on Nov. 14.
Ukraine has recently tried to step up its fight against the pandemic, enforcing fines for not wearing masks in public spaces and public transport. On Nov. 11, the parliament also voted to impose a highly controversial “weekend lockdown,” which requires non-essential businesses to close down on Saturdays and Sundays.
On these days, restaurants and cafes can only work for takeout and delivery, while malls, entertainment centers, gyms and swimming pools, theatres and cinemas are not allowed to operate.
As hundreds of workers and business owners protested against the measure near the Cabinet of Ministers on Nov. 11, Zelensky stressed that the weekend lockdown was a chance to avoid a total lockdown.
Although not enough time has passed to assess the effectiveness of the new measures, the health ministry reported a record high 13,357 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, Nov. 19.
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