KIEV, March 18./TASS/. The Ukrainian capital of Kiev, where subway service has been completely shut down, is now facing traffic jams and overcrowded surface transport, TASS reports from the site.
Ukrainians are ignoring the demands from the government to have no more than ten passengers on buses, trams, trolleybuses and on public minibus routes. Huge crowds are waiting at municipal transportation stops. Meanwhile, police patrols instructed to control the quarantine rules have failed to enforce them.
People in Kiev are outraged. "What was the point of closing the metro? Now the buses are jam-packed. What kind of a quarantine is it? Just take a look — a minibus has even tilted from so many people onboard," a local resident complained, who identified himself as Nikolai Ivanovich.
Individuals who used the subway to get to work, now travel by car, while many prefer to get a taxi. This service has instantly shot up by 20% in price "because of a higher demand," explained Taras Potichny, who heads the Bolt taxi service. Kiev’s roads are innumerably busier than during the usual morning rush hour. The biggest problem is getting from the left bank of the Dnieper River to the right.
Despite the quarantine measures, requests to wear facemasks on municipal transport are being widely disregarded. Sanitary services are not enforcing it, even though they were instructed by the Cabinet of Ministers to do so. The passengers themselves cite the deficit of surgical masks and their enormously high price. Drug stores that still have facemasks sell them as a set of 50 for $47, which is about eight times higher than before the coronavirus pandemic was declared.
Meanwhile, people are scarce in the streets. Shopping centers, markets, restaurants and cafes have been closed. Only food and household stores are open. The shelves have enough products, because, as shop assistants say, they were stored in advance in sufficient amounts.
A large number of staff from some ministries, banks, state enterprises and private companies are working from home. The city’s judicial and law enforcement agencies have stopped receiving visitors, and documents are being accepted through mail boxes, while court sessions are postponed.
According to the Ukrainian Public Health Center at the Health Ministry, seven new coronavirus cases were reported in the country on March 17, bringing the total amount of those infected to 14. So far, two people have died. Quarantine measures were declared across the country on March 12, and will stay in place until April 3 at the very earliest.
In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. On March 11, 2020, the WHO officially characterized the situation with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic. The disease has spread to over 160 countries. According to latest reports, over 190,000 people have been infected with the virus globally, and about 8,000 have died. There are 114 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Russia.