Ukraine faces "rather difficult period" over spread of new COVID-19 strain / REUTERS

Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov has said the country faced a "rather difficult period" over the spread of a new COVID-19 strain.

"We must understand: we have really faced a rather difficult period in terms of a new coronavirus strain... It is more contagious, i.e. more people become infected, it affects more young people. Moreover, we see a change in the clinical picture: it affects the central nervous system, kidneys, liver. That is, a completely different clinical picture," he said during the Svoboda Slova [Freedom of Speech] panel show hosted by Savik Shuster on Friday.

Speaking about the situation in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk, Stepanov said the situation had stabilized in terms of the number of new cases over the past few days.

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"I mean, we do not have such an increase [in the number of patients] that we had before... At least, Ivano-Frankivsk region is not included in the tops by the number of new patients every day," the official said.

Read alsoUkraine may re-impose tough quarantine if health system on verge of collapse – officialCOVID-19 in Ukraine: What is known

  • A surge in daily coronavirus cases has been reported in Ivano-Frankivsk region. More than 90% of beds allocated for COVID-19 patients in the region have been occupied.
  • As of February 22, 2021, the so-called red quarantine zone was introduced in the region.
  • On March 4, 2021, the Institute of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases said the first two cases of the UK strain of the novel coronavirus had been officially confirmed in Ukraine. The new strain was found in two patients from Ivano-Frankivsk region.
  • Ukraine confirmed 13,276 new active COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours as of March 13, 2021, having reported this year's highest indicator vs. 13,514 cases recorded as of December 11, 2020, as an all-time high.
  • The total number of confirmed cases grew to 1,451,744.