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Health News

Ukraine's coronavirus cases hit new record

FILE PHOTO: A passenger wearing a protective face mask is seen in a bus amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in central Kyiv, Ukraine September 28, 2020. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine registered a record 11,787 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, its health minister said on Friday, up from a high of 11,057 reported on Nov. 12.

Maksym Stepanov said the new cases had taken the total confirmed infections to 512,652, with 9,317 deaths.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is among those in hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The daily infection tally began rising in September and has been consistently high ever since, spurring the government to impose a national lockdown at weekends to strengthen steps to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Stepanov said on Thursday the virus was spreading at a “hurricane rate” and the new measures could break the chain of transmission.

However, media reported that authorities in some cities have said they would ignore the government’s order as they seek to avoid worsening the economic situation in the regions.

Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said on Friday the government decision was binding on everyone, without exception. Interior minister Arsen Avakov said the police would be on duty near the shopping centres, which must be closed on Friday night.

“The mayors do not have the right to authorise or prohibit the action of government decisions... (which are) unconditional and subject to execution by all business entities located on the territory of Ukraine,” Shmygal said.

Weekend lockdowns will be in force from Nov. 14-30. They require the closing or restricting of the activity of most businesses at weekends with the exception of grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals and transport.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; editing by Christian Schmollinger and Barbara Lewis

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