KIEV, Nov 3 — The situation with the coronavirus in Ukraine is close to catastrophic and the nation must prepare for the worst, health minister Maksym Stepanov said today.

Ukraine registered a record 8,899 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the ministry said, up from the October 30 high of 8,312. Total infections stood at 411,093 by today with 7,532 deaths.

“The situation quickly turns from difficult to catastrophic. We need to prepare for the inevitable — it is impossible to easily pass the second wave,” Stepanov told the parliament.

“If Ukrainians continue to severely disregard safety rules, we will not avoid a catastrophe. The hardest is ahead,” he added.

The daily tally of coronavirus infections spiked in late September and remained consistently high throughout October, prompting the government to extend lockdown measures until the end of this year.

Ukraine imposed a strict lockdown in March but eased it in May. Stepanov said the government would consider how to preserve the economy and save people at the same time.

He said last month that Ukraine would introduce stricter lockdown restrictions if cases rise to 11,000-15,000 daily. He warned that the resources of the medical system would run out if the number of daily cases exceeds 20,000. — Reuters