Photo from UNIAN

The so-called "weekend quarantine" may be introduced across Ukraine as early as next week.

On November 14-15, all establishments could be ordered to shut down except for essentials – grocery stores and pharmacies, TSN reports citing Minister of Health Maksym Stepanov who spoke at a TV panel show on Thursday.

The top health official noted that Ukraine was not in a position to introduce a full lockdown, as some European countries are now doing.

"That is why our proposal will make such a strict quarantine on weekends, that is, Saturday-Sunday. This is when we will only have grocery stores and pharmacies open and, of course, transport will be operating. That is, everything related to critical infrastructure. Everything else will be closed on weekends," the minister said.

This, Stepanov believes, will allow breaking the coronavirus transmission chain by lowering the number of contacts between people.

"It will definitely not be introduced this weekend. We understand that we need to prepare. I don't rule out that we will propose to do this starting next weekend," added the head of the Ministry of Health.

He explained that transport will work on weekends as well, as it is part of essential infrastructure.

Read alsoPM Shmyhal: Daily number of COVID-19 cases may grow to 20,000 by year-end"Still, the load on Saturday and Sunday is much lower on public transport. We don't see it necessary to close transport. Moreover, not a single European country is currently following this path," Stepanov said.

He added that as of Thursday morning there were 27,500 citizens undergoing treatment in hospitals.

"This figure is almost 3.5 times the one recorded early September. We now have 52,000 beds ready. And we are urgently increasing this number. We think that we will have their number up 20,000. This is the top theoretical capacity of our health care system before further increasing it at the expense of failing to provide medical care to other patients. In addition, we, I think, will go for deploying makeshift hospitals in our cities. Now we are considering the city of Kyiv, the city of Odesa, and the city of Kramatorsk in Donetsk region," the minister said.

Tougher quarantine in Ukraine: Background

  • The Ministry of Health suggests that the government establish additional quarantine restrictions on the territory of Ukraine and prohibit all mass events, limit the work house of food court, children's playgrounds and entertainment zones in shopping malls, as well as gyms, fitness centers, and swimming pools.
  • Over the past day, Ukraine has set a new record daily high of COVID-19 cases at almost 10,000.