Health minister explains drop in COVID-19 tests in Ukraine / REUTERS

Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov has said that there is a drop in the number of COVID-19 tests conducted in the country, therefore the ministry is expanding the list of symptoms when the testing will be done for free.

"Some 78,719 coronavirus cases were recorded last week. The week before it we had 89,322 cases. A total of 244,391 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests were conducted last week against 279,189 the week before last," he said at a briefing on December 14.

To date, 27,393 patients are undergoing treatment in hospitals against 28,163 patients the week before last.

"I must clarify, since many are talking about numbers of tests, statistics manipulation, etc. The number of people who apply for testing and who have signs of the coronavirus disease has significantly reduced. We had such an algorithm. We immediately changed the approach to testing when we saw a decrease in the number of requests: now we need to test anyone who have symptoms of a respiratory condition," Stepanov said.

"We also added express tests – antigen tests, which also should be used for testing people. Tomorrow we will announce a corresponding explanatory algorithm: how people can be tested, including contact patients, how and where exactly they may undergo tests, in order to increase the number of tests in our country and, accordingly, check more (sick) citizens and their contacts. We have significantly increased the capacities of our laboratories, we need to expand the list of citizens who have access to the testing," the minister stressed.

Read alsoAnyone with flu symptoms to be tested for COVID-19 – health ministerAccording to Stepanov, the changes in the algorithm mean the number of people who will be tested for free will grow. Now all people with the symptoms of a respiratory condition will be tested for COVID-19 since "the symptoms of coronavirus disease differ from one patient to another."

The health minister also said the number of people in hospitals was not increasing, which indicates stabilization of the situation with the epidemic, including thanks to the weekend quarantine.

"If we look at the statistics, including the number of people in our hospitals, it does not increase. We may record and say there is certain stabilization in the number of patients with coronavirus disease. We see this both in the number of cases and hospitalized people," Stepanov added.

COVID-19 in Ukraine: Latest developments

  • Ukraine said 6,451 new active COVID-19 cases had been confirmed across the country in the past 24 hours as of December 14, 2020.
  • The total number of confirmed cases grew to 900,666.