Ukraine announces cash reward to boost Covid vaccination drive 

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday said in a video statement that all Ukrainians who were vaccinated against Covid-19 would receive a 1,000 hryvnia ($38) payment.

Ukraine has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Europe and is grappling with its worst phrase of the pandemic, with deaths hitting a new daily record of 833 last week.

The Kiev crematorium has been carrying out up to double the number of cremations compared to the summer months, its spokesperson told AFP.

One of Europe's poorest countries, Ukraine recently reported record numbers of daily Covid-19 deaths and cases, resulting in a significant increase in burials and, in particular, cremations.

"To date, compared to the summer period, the number of processions has doubled," Andriy Yashchenko, a spokesman for the Kiev crematorium, told AFP.

"If during the summer there was on average 60 processions per day, now there are between 100 and 120," he said.

Also read: NATO warns Russia over Ukraine military build-up

Ukraine reported 442 daily coronavirus fatalities on Monday, the second-highest number in the world after Russia.

Ukrainian authorities 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.

The crematorium — one of three such facilities in the ex-Soviet country — is part of one of the oldest and largest cemeteries in Kiev.

Yashchenko said the facility has stayed open for hours more than usual in recent weeks, and has sometimes been operating until midnight.

Since the start of the pandemic, Ukraine has recorded more than three million coronavirus cases and 77,000 deaths.

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