Ukraine's Health Ministry expects a surge in confirmed coronavirus cases as early as on Friday, April 17.
"It is expected on April 17," Ukraine's Deputy Health Minister and Chief Medical Officer Viktor Liashko said in an interview for the LB.ua media outlet.
"But the dynamics may be different. This is a new type of pathogen, it could behave unexpectedly. Now we are comparing our scenario with the one that was in European countries, and we clearly see that thanks to the introduction of preventive measures [in Ukraine], it took us more days than, for example, in Italy to pass from 100 to 1,000 cases. We're moving slower from 1,000 to 10,000 – we will see how we get there," he said.
According to him, Ukraine is now following a scenario when no more than 2% of the population will be infected with the novel COVID-19 coronavirus.
"Our estimates show that if there is 2% of the infected population, our healthcare system will painlessly cope with the number of patients who will be delivered to intensive care units. If it is 10% or more, then the healthcare system could collapse – if we do not flatten the curve with those 10%," he said.
Yet, a significant increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is still possible, as it is related to a change in testing algorithms because now all patients with pneumonia, fever and all exposed persons are subject to testing.
Liashko explains that easing the quarantine measures in Ukraine requires positive dynamics. "After the peak, which is projected on April 17, there should be a steady decrease in the number of new cases. We will lift the strict quarantine measures step-by-step, letting people go to work, allowing independent testing [at schools]. We are now working with the Education Ministry on new regulations for holding the exams. I think the school year is now over for children from grades 9-11 – there will be no one-month schooling for them."