The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has coronavirus. The president is now in the hospital after contracting the virus. Zelensky, who’s 42 years old, had a temperature of 99.5 Fahrenheit when he tested positive for COVID-19.
An official on behalf of the president has confirmed the news. Zelensky, according to the spokeswoman, isn’t facing serious side effects and should recover safely. “He first went home, but decided to move to Feofania [hospital] to accurately isolate and not expose anyone,” a presidential spokeswoman told Reuters. “There are better conditions for patients. Nothing serious.” The number of cases in the Ukraine are serious, however. The surge began early in the summer. Underequipped hospitals and doctors have been hit hard by the pandemic. Ukraine has a total of 500,865 coronavirus cases and 9,145 deaths.
In addition to Zelensky, the defense minister and the President’s top aide have contracted the coronavirus. Back in June, the President’s wife tested positive for COVID-19 as well. Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska recovered, but expressed her surprise at the positive test. Zelenska claimed her and her husband had been following social distancing rules. However, there was some criticism when the President was once spotted at a cafe without wearing a mask.
The coronavirus has only got worse in the Ukraine in September and throughout October and November. There’s been a serious spike in cases, and restrictions have increased in recent weeks. The President’s cabinet went as far to impose national lockdown on weekends to curb the spread.
The President’s rise to office was unconventional. He’s a former actor and comedian. Zelensky was a star in the Ukraine, thanks to a TV sitcom called Servant of the People. It’s an incredible twist of fate he became president, too, because in the show he played a teacher who unexpectedly becomes president after a viral video depicts him calling out government corruption. The former comedian easily beat the incumbent President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko.
Fighting the coronavirus has been especially challenging in the Ukraine. There was a notable lack of personal protective equipment for frontline health workers. There’s also been a reported lack of knowledge about how to treat victims of the coronavirus. As a result, over 3,600 medical workers have contracted COVID-19 in the Ukraine.
The President has taken steps in getting the coronavirus under control. Policy makers in the Ukraine sought help from international development partners for support, including the World Bank. The World Bank gave Ukraine a loan worth $135 million. The money went towards hospital upgrades and reforms, as well as training thousands of doctors.
A total of 242 hospitals and 25 emergency service centers received support from the World Bank loan. “We were able to attract an additional $135 million from the World Bank, of which $35 million will be used to fight COVID-19,” said Ukraine’s Health Minister Maksym Stepanov. “In particular, $20 million will be used to purchase materials and equipment, and $15 million will be used to additionally finance medical facilities to counter COVID-19.” The World Bank has been increasing efforts for disease surveillance and improving public health interventions. Over the last year, the World Bank has deployed $160 billion to support vulnerable countries and citizens of the world.
The Ukraine President and policy makers also redirected $22 million on Serving People, Improving Health Project. It helped the country’s government buy essential equipment to treat COVID-19, train medical personnel, and reimbursing health care providers treating COVID-19 patients. In the meantime, President Volodymyr Zelensky will remain in isolation.