Photo from UNIAN

Crowds in Ukraine's churches during Easter holidays could nullify the gains made in containing the coronavirus spread across the country, says Deputy Minister of Health Viktor Liashko.

The health ministry spoke with the Council of Churches and heads of denominations, urging them to ensure that mass crowds be avoided in churches during the religious holiday period, Liashko told a panel show on ICTV, RBC-Ukraine reports.

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"The data we have says that there were not many violations in churches. There were isolated violations when parishioners were allowed into churches, but in most cases Ukrainians gathered in massive crowds outside churches. This leads to the fact that there were close contacts. And this could lead to a surge in the COVID-19 incidence," Liashko said.

"The marker point is April 24. This is the date that will show us the real situation, just five to seven days after Easter. We will see if we have a surge following holiday celebrations," he added.

Liashko has urged Ukrainians to celebrate Easter from home without violating quarantine.

"There won't be enough forces, the police or epidemiologists, to cordon all churches off and lock people down. We are counting on people's good consciousness," he said.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Kyiv's Oleksandrivska Hospital is now treating 50 COVID-19 patients, while the chief doctor says the threat is growing.