The first Covid-19 case was detected in Ukraine on 3 March in the western oblast of Chernivtsi. As of the end of August, almost 115,000 cases had been confirmed, including some 2,500 deaths. The primary sources of the initial outbreak were Ukrainians returning home from work and tourist trips from abroad.
The country entered the coronavirus crisis in the middle of political instability. President Volodymyr Zelensky, elected in April 2019 with 73% of the vote, has been steadily losing popular support both for himself and for his party, Sluha Narodu (Servant of the People), that has the majority of seats in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament).
Moreover, the only European country facing armed conflict (for the past six years), Ukraine has been involved in a hybrid war with the Russian Federation that did not stop or slow down from the coronavirus. Some reduction of violence in the Donbass conflict zone was reported since July 2020, but it would be too early to speak of the conflict freezing after such a short time. Considering restricted population mobility, access to resources and economic decay in the so-called uncontrolled territories alongside high rates of chronic diseases made eastern Ukraine highly vulnerable to Covid-19.
The economic situation before the pandemic was relatively stable concerning prices and currency. There was some steady GDP growth and moderate public debt. The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has notably affected the economic outlook and has made the government shift the focus to containment and stabilisation. The 2020 budget has already been hit extremely hard as revenues fell and spending needs to address the crisis skyrocketed. In June 2020, the IMF approved an 18-month Stand-by Arrangement (SBA), with a total access of about $5 billion. The aim was to tackle the large balance-
of-payments and fiscal financing needs in the country.
To contain the spread of the disease, the government imposed a three-week nationwide quarantine in the second week of March. It shut down educational institutions and public events with over 200 people. These measures were followed by the closure of all schools, educational institutions, cafés, restaurants, gyms, shopping malls and entertainment venues as well as by shutting down most public transport. The quarantine was further extended until 11 May with multiple restrictions enforced despite the easing of quarantine measures starting from 25 May.
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Table of contents
2. Healthcare Sector: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
3. Women and Covid-19 in Ukraine: A Gender Perspective
4. Surviving through Pandemic: Vulnerable Groups
4.1. People with Disabilities and People Living with HIV
4.2. LGBTQ Community
4.3. Roma Community
4.4. Covid-19 amidst the War: The Situation in Eastern Ukraine
5. Civil Society Response
6. Expectations towards International Actors