July 16, 2020 / 11:21 AM / a month ago

Ukrainians 'tired' of lockdown, says president

People wearing protective face masks amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walk out of a metro station in Kyiv, Ukraine July 15, 2020. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukrainians are fed up with the coronavirus lockdown and the government should be cautious about extending it beyond August, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Thursday.

“Everyone is tired of this quarantine,” the presidential press service quoted him as telling government officials.

Ukraine imposed strict restrictions in March but partially eased them in May to allow economic recovery.

It has been extending the lockdown monthly, with current rules in place until end-July requiring people to wear masks and adhere to strict norms in restaurants and public places.

“We need a clear framework for how we will continue it (lockdown), so that people have the opportunity to live safely, so that business can function, so that the economy does not stand at a pause,” Zelenskiy added.

“Therefore ... we will extend it for a month, but not longer,” he added.

That scenario would mean an end-August lockdown finish.

Ukraine has recorded 56,455 coronavirus cases and 1,445 deaths - relatively low numbers compared to western European counterparts. But there have been worryingly high levels of new infections in recent weeks, which authorities attribute to a reluctance to wear masks and observe social distancing.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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