Ukraine announces two-week post-Christmas lockdown

Ukraine announced Wednesday it will shutter schools and non-essential business like cinemas for two weeks following Orthodox Christmas next month in a bid to fight the coronavirus.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said that the new restrictions would be applied from January 8, a day after the Orthodox Christmas, until January 24 in order “to prevent the development of a new wave of the disease.

“Let’s call them winter holidays for the sake of safety,” he said at a government meeting on Wednesday.

The announcement came as health officials reported 12,585 new infections and 276 virus-related fatalities over the previous 24 hours.

Total infections stood at 845,343, while deaths reached 14,204 in the ex-Soviet country of 40 million people.

During the two-week period next month, gyms, swimming pools, universities and schools will be closed except nursery schools.

Music and theatre performances will be banned, while restaurants and bars will be restricted to takeout or delivery.

However, pharmacies and grocery stores will continue operating as usual, as well as public transport and hotels.