Ukraine hits another record for daily coronavirus deaths

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine on Tuesday hit another record for daily coronavirus deaths amid a spike in infections fueled by public reluctance to get a vaccine.

The Health Ministry reported 833 coronavirus deaths over the past day, surpassing the previous high of 793 over the weekend and bringing the country’s total confirmed COVID-19 deaths to 73,390. The nation of 41 million people also registered 18,988 new daily infections in the last day.

Although four vaccines are available in Ukraine — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Sinovac — only 18% of the population has been fully vaccinated. That is Europe’s second-lowest rate after Armenia.

In an effort to speed up vaccine uptake, the authorities required teachers, government employees and other workers to get fully vaccinated by Nov. 8 or have their salaries suspended.

On Tuesday, the government also ordered workers of state-controlled companies, including railways and the postal service, as well as social workers to get vaccinated by Dec. 1.

Ukrainian authorities also have started requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test results for people boarding planes, trains and long-distance buses.

New government regulations and restrictions have spawned a booming black market for counterfeit vaccine documents. Fake vaccination certificates are selling for the equivalent of $100-300, and there have been reports of a fake version of a government digital app with fake certificates already installed.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Tuesday that Ukrainian police have set up 1,400 mobile units to track down counterfeit vaccine documents.

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