Ukraine reported record daily COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday as authorities struggled to increase the country’s vaccination rate.
The country, which has handled rising case volumes, reported 838 more deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday.
President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday promised to pay 1,000 hryvnias (about $ 47.50 Cdn) to every Ukrainian who is vaccinated. Ukrainians can receive their payments from December 19, authorities said.
“With this money, it will be possible to buy a gym or fitness club membership, visit a cinema, theater, museum, concert hall or exhibition center or buy tickets for domestic travel,” Zelensky said in a video message on Facebook.
The government plans to allocate 3 billion hryvnias (more than $ 142 million Cdn) to the incentive program this year and the same amount in 2022.
Although Ukraine has four available coronavirus vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Sinovac – about 20 percent of the population has been vaccinated so far, which is one of the lowest rates in Europe.
Authorities have blamed the recent rise in new cases for widespread public reluctance to be vaccinated. To get more people immunized, the government demanded that teachers, doctors, government employees and other groups of workers be fully vaccinated by December 1st.
The government also began requiring proof of vaccination or negative test results to board planes, trains and long-distance buses.
New government regulations and restrictions have spawned a black market for fraudulent vaccine documents, and there have been reports of a fake version of a state-of-the-art digital app coming with fake certificates installed.
-From The Associated Press, last updated at 6:45 ET
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What’s going on around the world
As of early Tuesday morning, more than 253.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. The online database showed a reported global death toll of more than 5.1 million.
IN Europe, Greek public health workers in Athens protested over pay and conditions as hospitals struggled with a new rise in COVID-19 cases and authorities considered further restrictions.
IN Africa, Nigeria will launch a mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign later this week with the aim of inoculating half of its target population by the end of January, government officials said.
In it America, lawsuits filed around the country challenging the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine rule in the workplace are expected to be consolidated in a single federal appeals court on Tuesday, giving the government a chance to revive a rule blocked last week .
More than a dozen lawsuits have been filed challenging the rule, which requires employers with at least 100 workers to order COVID-19 vaccination or weekly tests combined with wearing a face mask at work. The rule was issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which said it would prevent 250,000 hospitalizations caused by COVID-19.
On Friday, a panel of three judges at the U.S. 5th Court of Appeals in New Orleans blocked the rule, calling it a “one-size-fits-all sledgehammer that makes almost no attempt to account for differences in workplaces.”
In it Middle East, a ban on public sector employees entering their offices if they are unvaccinated and untested for COVID-19 came into force in Egypt late Monday as the government presses to speed up vaccination rates in the final weeks of the year.
In it Asia-Pacific region, Japan is moving to further reduce COVID-19 restrictions. A panel on Tuesday agreed to remove caps on spectators at some events, though the plan requires either proof of vaccination or a negative test result. The measure still requires full government approval.
-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 6:50 ET