In a government meeting Wednesday, the Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmygal painted a grim picture of the pandemic dynamics in Ukraine.

With five regions already in red zone, a few more will itch very close to the strictest quarantine within days, warned Denys Shmygal.

‘We are constantly adding new hospitals and new medical workers to handle the coronavirus, assured the prime minister.

The biggest concern is slow vaccination, which drives up Covid cases across the country. The data shows that   ’94,2% of those hospitalized over the [last] week were not vaccinated’.

The prime minister said regional  health offices have been tasked to drive up weekly vaccination uptake – from current 225 thousand vaccinations to 1.5 million.

He said the government is not ‘planning to introduce a full lockdown in the country and stop the economy’, stressing that ‘as the president said this week, the only alternative to a lockdown is mass vaccination’.

Denys Shmygal called on people to roll up their sleeves for a jab and not to ‘wait until your regions will move to red zone’.

He also sent  a strong message to businesses reminding they will be able to stay open provided their staff and visitors are fully vaccinated.

Last week, the government introduced Covid-19 mandates for domestic travel.  The proof-of-vaccination requirement will affect inter-regional bus and train travelers,  passengers of domestic air flights as well as employees of operators.