Authorities in Ukraine updated their adaptive quarantine regime Oct. 26 following a biweekly review of the country's recovery from coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Under the system, all Ukrainian regions are classified as one of four color-coded zones - Green, Yellow, Orange, or Red - depending on the volume of COVID-19 testing, local morbidity rates, and the capacity of local hospitals. The system will remain in effect until at least Dec. 31.
Regions designated as Red zones have the most stringent restrictions. Cities in this category include Kharkiv, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Khmelnytsky, Ternopil, Rivne, Poltava, Nikolaev and Boryspil. Public transport has been suspended in these areas; passengers may disembark regional buses and trains but may not board. Additionally, shopping malls, catering establishments, educational institutions, fitness centers, and sports facilities have been closed. Public gatherings are banned.
The vast majority of towns and cities have been classified as Orange zones, including more than 150 cities, towns, and districts such as Kyiv, and the cities of Lviv, Odesa, Kherson, Lutsk, Dnipro, Vinnytsia, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, and Zaporizhia. Hotels may operate in these areas, but other forms of short-term lodging are prohibited. Entertainment venues, restaurants, fitness centers, and cultural institutions are closed. Scheduled nonemergency medical procedures have been suspended. Outdoor gatherings may not exceed 20 attendees.
Around 50 areas are labeled Yellow zones, including the cities of Bolekhiv and Kherson. Indoor cultural and entertainment facilities may not operate at above 50-percent capacity. Outdoor cultural, entertainment, and sporting events may not exceed 30 total attendees. Public transport may not carry standing passengers.
Several other restrictive measures continue to apply nationwide. Residents from different households should maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 meters (5 feet) while in public. Facemasks are mandatory in public, including public transport, public buildings, and crowded indoor spaces. Public gatherings are permitted but may not exceed one person per 5 square meters (54 square feet) and must observe social distancing. Restaurants and cafes must observe social distancing requirements and may not operate after 2200. Cinemas may not exceed 50-percent capacity. Intercity buses and trains to and from most major cities have resumed, except for cities in quarantine zones. Most nonessential businesses have reopened, including retailers, hotels, spas, leisure facilities, and cultural venues. Kindergartens, parks, and recreational areas have also reopened. Additionally, all secondary schools remain closed through Oct. 30, and all higher education institutions have implemented distance learning through at least Nov. 30.
Authorities lifted the COVID-related ban on entry for nonresident foreign nationals on Sept. 28. Foreigners are allowed to enter Ukraine provided they have proof of traveler's insurance that covers the cost of COVID-19 observation and treatment. The traveler's insurance must be issued by a company in Ukraine or an international insurance company with representation or a partnership in Ukraine. Foreigners and stateless persons who permanently reside in Ukraine, refugees, and diplomats are exempt from the requirement.
Furthermore, all individuals arriving from countries that have high COVID-19 infection rates must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival; persons in possession of a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival, as well as diplomats, representatives of foreign organizations, students, international freight truck drivers, and aircraft and vessel crew members are exempt. Ukraine has categorized foreign countries of origin into Green or Red classifications. Green countries are those in which the number of COVID-19 cases is fewer than 40 per 100,000, while Red countries have higher case rates; travelers from Green countries are exempt from self-isolation upon entry.
Domestic and international flights have resumed, though some land border crossings remain closed. Authorities are permitting freight transport through open checkpoints.
Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.