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Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov says Ukraine sees a spike in new COVID-19 cases since citizens, in fact, have confused the easing of the quarantine with the lifting of the curbs.

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"We have an increasing number of people in hospitals, patients with pneumonia. This stems directly from the fact that people have confused the relaxing of the quarantine with its lifting. This is what is going on in citizens' minds," he said during an online briefing on June 15.

"We see that the number of confirmed cases [per day] has been exceeding 650 over the five days. There were even 753 cases one day. We set records for the incidence [of COVID-19 cases]. I think we just need to look outside, at numerous videos on the Internet and social networks, to realize what is happening there, including in clubs and other places," he said.

According to Stepanov, citizens have already felt the "complete lifting of the quarantine," which, he believes, is the main cause behind the spike in the incidence.

At the same time, the minister urged Ukrainians to comply with the ministry's recommendations, as the risk of the infection is reduced with the mandatory use of face masks and hand sanitizers, as well as observance of social distancing.

As UNIAN reported earlier, there were 31,810 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ukraine as of the morning of June 15. They include 901 deaths and 14,253 recoveries. Some 656 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours.