President tells Ukrainians to 'turn on brain', get jabs

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Volodymyr Zelensky. (Genya SAVILOV / AFP)
Volodymyr Zelensky. (Genya SAVILOV / AFP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday pleaded with his compatriots to "turn on your brain" and get vaccinated as the country struggles to contain a surge in coronavirus infections.

Ukraine reported 26 870 new Covid cases in 24 hours on Friday - a record for the ex-Soviet country.

"I ask everyone to switch off social networks and turn on your brain," Zelensky said.

"We must get vaccinated," he said during a trip to the southern port city of Odessa, adding that "it is the only solution".

Despite three vaccines being available in Ukraine - AstraZeneca, Pfizer and the Chinese-made CoronaVac - only about 20 percent of Ukrainians are fully vaccinated.

Authorities in the country of around 41 million people initially struggled to source vaccine doses and have since fought to convince vaccine-sceptic Ukrainians to get inoculated.

But new restrictions requiring vaccinations have seen people across the country flock to vaccine centres, with inoculations now running at about 290 000 people a day.

"Today we have a good pace (of vaccination), but, nevertheless, the number of cases and deaths is increasing," Zelensky warned, calling to speed up the vaccination rate.

Ukraine has recorded more than 2.8 million coronavirus cases and 66 000 deaths.


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