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Ukrainian President Defends Partial Lockdown While Recuperating From Coronavirus Infection

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a video conference with governmental officials from a hospital where he has been hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms, in Kyiv on November 12.

KYIV -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said that a short-term quarantine, introduced amid a record surge in coronavirus cases, could help the country avoid stricter measures.

"A weekend quarantine is a chance to avoid a full lockdown," Zelenskiy wrote on Facebook on November 14. "If we have such a chance, we should use it. We are talking about six nonworking days."

Zelenskiy and the head of his presidential office, Andriy Yermak, tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week.

"We need to slow down the sickness growth rate," Zelenskiy wrote. "Our doctors are heroically countering the virus, but we should not create a situation where they will choose whom to treat."

The president's comments came as Ukraine registered a new daily infection record, with 12,524 coronavirus cases reported, amid opposition to the new restrictions by demonstrators and city mayors.

Several hundred protesters gathered in the capital earlier this week ahead of the government's decision to impose a partial lockdown from November 14-30. In a protest called I Have A Right To Work, the demonstrators voiced their opposition to work restrictions and demanded compensation for industry losses.

The mayors of a number of Ukrainian cities also expressed their disagreement with the government, saying residents stood to suffer financial losses.

In a televised address, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov explained on November 14, "This is a war. Every day the virus takes the lives of Ukrainians."

The short-term lockdown will entail the closure or restricted activity of most businesses except for grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, and others considered essential.

With reporting by Reuters and Interfax