A Ukrainian who recently returned home after a vacation in Italy is infected with the novel coronavirus, Deputy Health Minister Viktor Lyashko said at a briefing on March 3. It is the first confirmed coronavirus case in Ukraine.

The man was hospitalized on the night of Feb. 29, when he began to cough more heavily and saw his temperature rising. Late on March 2, lab tests confirmed he was infected with Covid-19, the virus that has already infected 90,000 and killed over 3,000 people worldwide, the Health Ministry reported.

The Ukrainian and his wife spent a week traveling across Italy. They flew back to Ukraine via Romania, where the family underwent a routine temperature check. They passed another check in Ukraine during which no symptoms of the virus were identified, Lyashko said.

The man has now been hospitalized in his native Chernivtsi Oblast, roughly 500 kilometers to the west of Kyiv.


“His wife – they traveled together – she is isolated in her apartment, but she does not have any symptoms,” Lyashko said.

The ministry did not reveal the man’s name, nor the hospital where he is being treated.

Currently, there is no vaccine against Covid-19. However, the number of people who have successfully recovered from the virus is gradually growing.

Apart from China, where the outbreak started and the death toll is the largest, Covid-19 has hit Iran, Italy, South Korea, Japan, the U.S. and France, and several other countries. There is just one confirmed case in Australia, the Philippines, Taiwan and now Ukraine.

The Ukrainian government has previously faced criticism for not providing more information about possible coronavirus cases. Nonetheless, it remained circumspect with information when announcing the first real case.

On Feb. 20, Ukraine evacuated both Ukrainians and foreigners from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. When their flight landed on Ukrainian territory, no information was provided to the public on where the evacuees would spend 14 days in quarantine.


That led to tensions in Novi Sanzhary, the town where they would ultimately undergo observation in a local sanatorium. As the evacuees traveled to the city, locals set up roadblocks, threw stones at their busses and clashed with police.

During the March 3 press conference, Lyashko pointed out that the morning temperature check in the Novi Sanzhary sanatorium showed that all 48 Ukrainians and 27 foreigners who had been evacuated had no symptoms of Covid-19. Lab tests showed no sign of the virus either.

Until his case was confirmed, the Chernivtsi local had been among four people suspected to be infected with the coronavirus. The other three cases have not been confirmed.

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