Kiev, Ukraine (AP) —Russian-backed separatist authorities in eastern Ukraine reported the largest surge in new coronavirus infections since the outbreak of the pandemic, saying the health system was overwhelmed.
Separatist authorities are seeking further assistance from Russia, and the convoy will deliver Russian vaccines, ventilators and other medical devices on Thursday.
Health officials in the Donetsk region of 2.2 million have confirmed 1,005 new infections and reported 97 deaths from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours. The Community Health Department described the situation as “extremely tense” and said it was facing a bed and lack of oxygen.
“Despite the enormous efforts of healthcare professionals, the number of patients with COVID-19 and pneumonia has overwhelmed the potential of the healthcare system,” a separatist said in a statement. “The situation is very tense and is getting worse day by day.”
Local media reported that Donetsk hospitals are also facing a shortage of medicines and protective equipment.
Since declaring unilateral independence in April 2014, the region has been operating independently with Russia’s political, economic and military support, and so far 5,578 virus deaths have occurred. It has been confirmed. About 10% of the population is vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine or its one-shot version, Sputnik Light, at least once.
An adjacent separatist area in Luhansk reported a similarly tense coronavirus situation, and its authorities closed the school from Wednesday and imposed a strict blockade. A total of 1,708 virus deaths have been recorded in 1.4 million areas.
Ukrainian health officials say they cannot provide assistance because they do not have access to eastern rebel areas.
The separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine broke out after Moscow merged Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and the country’s pro-Russian president was expelled. The fighting killed more than 14,000 people and devastated the region that once formed the country’s industrial center.
Read all AP stories about the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.
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