Ukraine reported record daily COVID-19 deaths Tuesday as authorities struggle to boost the country’s vaccination rate.
The country, which has been dealing with rising caseloads, reported 838 more deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday.
President Volodymyr Zelensky promised Monday to pay 1,000 hryvnias (roughly $47.50 Cdn) to each Ukrainian who gets vaccinated. Ukrainians can receive their payments starting Dec. 19, authorities said.
“With this money, it will be possible to purchase a gym or fitness club membership, visit a cinema, theatre, museum, concert hall or exhibition centre, or buy tickets for domestic travel,” Zelensky said in a video message posted 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 coronavirus vaccines available — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Sinovac — about 20 per cent of the population has been vaccinated so far, one of the lowest rates in Europe.
Authorities have blamed the recent surge in new cases on widespread public reluctance to get vaccinated. To get more people immunized, the government required teachers, doctors, government employees and other groups of workers to get fully vaccinated by Dec. 1.
The government also started 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 government digital app that comes with fake certificates installed.
-From The Associated Press, last updated at 6:45 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
What’s happening 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 sector workers protested in Athens over pay and conditions as hospitals struggled with a new surge in COVID-19 cases and authorities considered further restrictions.
In Africa, Nigeria will start a mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign later this week, aiming to inoculate half of its targeted population by the end of January, government officials said.
In the Americas, lawsuits filed around the country challenging the Biden administration’s workplace COVID-19 vaccine rule are expected to be consolidated in a single federal appeals court on Tuesday, giving the government a chance to revive a rule that was blocked last week.
More than a dozen lawsuits have been filed challenging the rule, which requires employers with at least 100 workers to mandate COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing combined with wearing a face covering at work. The rule was issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which said it will prevent 250,000 hospitalizations caused by COVID-19.
On Friday, a three-judge panel on the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans blocked the rule, calling it a “one-size-fits-all sledgehammer that makes hardly any attempt to account for differences in workplaces.”
In the Middle East, a ban on public sector employees entering their offices if they are unvaccinated and untested for COVID-19 took effect in Egypt late Monday as the government pushes to accelerate vaccination rates in the final weeks of the year.
In the 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 calls for either proof of vaccination or a negative test result. The measure still needs full government approval.
-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 6:50 a.m. ET