DONETSK, March 19. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine will close all border crossings to the Kiev-controlled territory starting from March 21, DPR head Denis Pushilin said on Wednesday.
"In order to prevent the coronavirus infection from spreading to the territory of the republic, a decision was made to completely halt the movement of citizens via border and customs control checkpoints on the border with Ukraine starting from 00:00 on March 21, 2020," reads a statement, posted on Pushilin’s official website.
According to the statement, "there are all grounds to believe that the novel coronavirus situation in Ukraine will deteriorate, including due to mass return of Ukrainian citizens from Italy, Spain, Poland and other European states that have already reported thousands of those infected."
According to the DPR leader, citizens of the self-proclaimed republic who are now on the Kiev-controlled territory "still have the time to return home." At the same time, "all necessary measures will be taken to place those who had returned under medical supervision."
DPR has reported no cases of the novel coronavirus infection on its territory so far.
Meanwhile, mobile quarantine stations have been deployed on the line of contact, separating DPR and the Kiev-controlled territory of the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass.
"The emergencies ministry, the health ministry and regional authorities have organized mobile sanitary and quarantine stations at border checkpoints. They have all the necessary equipment and supplies and will be tasked with detecting citizens with fever," Olga Korol, who heads the inter-departmental crisis response center tasked with containing the novel coronavirus in DPR, was quoted as saying by the Donetsk News Agency.
DPR declared the high coronavirus alert regime on March 14 and obliged those who arrived from Ukraine, China, Spain, Italy, Iran, Korea, France and Germany to go into self-imposed quarantine for 14 days.
Coronavirus in Ukraine
The first case of the novel coronavirus infection was reported in the Kiev-controlled area of eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, the Ukrainian health ministry said via its Telegram channel on Wednesday night.
"As of 22:00 local time [23:00 Moscow time] on March 18, a total of 16 COVID-19 cases are registered in Ukraine: in the regions of Chernovtsy (10), Zhitomir (1), Kiev (2), Donetsk (1) and in [the city] of Kiev (2)," the statement says.
Therefore, two new cases of the novel coronavirus infection were detected in the country in the past 24 hours.
So far, Ukraine reported two deaths from the infection on its territory.