Photo from UNIAN

Health Minister Maksym Stepanov hopes that the situation with the coronavirus in Ukraine will become better in early summer.

He called winter and spring "a difficult period," Channel 24 reports.

When asked by a host, whether he sees grounds for continuing the January lockdown, the minister replied it was possible.

Read alsoHealth chief comments on possible vaccination schedule in Ukraine"My advisers and I insist on extending quarantine, with the same restriction we have today," said the health minister.

Stepanov named two reasons why he would recommend extending the quarantine.

"Firstly, we had the January holidays, which saw massive celebrations: with large crowds in indoor premises, while people also went to visit their family. This will potentially have a very strong effect on incidence rise," he said.

The minister also noted the annual seasonal increase in the number of flu cases, traditionally observed in January.

"And it is very important to knock down the growth pace. The disease is transmitted in the same way and prevented in the same way – by severing human contact. Because both the flu and COVID-19 have the same complications including hospitalization. We are interested in making sure there is no critical load on the health care system, "Stepanov answered.

Lockdown in Ukraine: Background

On December 9, the Cabinet made a decision to introduce enhanced quarantine restrictions across Ukraine from January 8 to January 24, inclusive. Cafes, restaurants, and bars have been told to suspend services (except for delivery and takeaway).

Read alsoPolice record over 1,500 violators of quarantine curbs since January lockdownAlso, cinemas, fitness clubs, gyms, swimming pools, theaters have been shut down pending lockdown.

Schools have suspended classes, non-grocery shops have been banned from selling their products, while entertainment, sports, and arts events have been barred.

At the same time, public transport keeps operating. Seating capacity has been mandated for all transport except subway.