There are not enough hygiene lab assistants / Photo from UNIAN

Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov says Ukraine is facing a shortage of epidemiologists and the statistics are "dismal."

"I've got data from the Health Ministry's relevant department. I must say the statistics are dismal," he said on Facebook on June 10.

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According to him, the shortage of epidemiologists at Ukraine's regional laboratory centers is 48% now.

"There are not enough hygiene laboratory assistants (51%) and virologists (41%), he said.

"I've issued an order to determine how many specialists Ukraine needs for treatment and prevention [of the spread of viruses], as well as to deal with outbreaks of infectious diseases in future," he said.

According to him, the ministry said it had already developed several programs to retrain doctors with other specialties.

"After all, there is always a threat [of infectious diseases] – the whole world feels this like never before. And every country should stand ready," he added.