Yemets says the government promptly takes the necessary measures / Photo from UNIAN

Ukraine's Health Minister Illia Yemets predicts confirmed cases of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus will be on the rise.

"Our statistics are lower than figures in many European countries so far, but it's a mistake to hope that the virus will not affect Ukraine. The hardest times are ahead. The virus will be spreading," the Health Ministry's press service quoted the minister as saying on Friday evening.

Read alsoZelensky: Ukraine sees first case of coronavirus recovery

According to Yemets, it will be harder for Ukraine to handle the crisis, as its healthcare system has not been reformed properly.

He also assures that the government promptly takes the necessary measures, will engage all resources to safeguard the Ukrainians against the pandemic and prevent a disaster other countries have already experienced.

The minister also calls on the Ukrainians to stay home in self-isolation, frequently wash their hands, and keep their distance to slow the spread of the virus.

"Be aware of your own safety, take care of elderly relatives, and do not ignore the first symptoms of respiratory diseases," he said.

"Remember that only 20% of all cases of coronavirus-related diseases are severe and only about 3% need intensive care. However, I urge you to visit doctors when needed and not to jeopardize your life and the health of your loved ones," he added.

As UNIAN reported earlier, the Ukrainian government has approved restrictive measures to address the outbreak of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus in Ukraine. They include the introduction of three-week quarantine in educational institutions starting from March 12.

What is more, Ukraine on March 16 closed its border for foreign citizens for two weeks.

On March 17, the subway in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities suspended the service. Intercity and interregional passenger transportation by rail, by air, and by bus in Ukraine stopped on March 18.

The restrictions are not applicable to private vehicles.