Hello from a quarantined Kyiv,

We promise this newsletter is not just about the coronavirus but we thought it was important to reinforce the vital information first before we move on to the more fun part.
Ukraine has had 3 coronavirus cases (including one that led to death), but the government is taking the pandemic seriously, and a series of measures have been introduced. Here’s a quick recap of those that may affect you:

  • All schools, kindergartens, colleges, and entertainment centres are closed until April 3;
  • All events of over 200 attendants are banned until April 3;
  • Sports competitions can go ahead without audiences;
  • As of March 17, no passenger planes can fly in and out of Ukraine. At the moment one can still take a train or bus but do check if your border checkpoint is open.

And now the cool news 😎:

  1. Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina won the Monterrey Open tournament in Mexico.
  2. For the first time ever, Ukraine recycled its batteries. 20 tonnes of batteries were sent to a special recycling factory in Romania. This procedure took three years to organise and cost nearly 35,000 euros. 100 more tonnes will be sent by the end of 2020.
  3. If you’re bored at home under quarantine, here’s a website that generates a random picture of a cat every time you refresh it. Some other things you can do are reading, watching Netflix, calling your friends, doing 50 sit-ups, or going for a run.

And the uncool news 🙈:

  1. 7,000 people took part in a religious procession aimed at “warding off the coronavirus outbreak” in the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia *an emoji of a facepalm was supposed to go here, but we then remembered that we can’t touch our faces*
  2. A video went viral last week of a veteran Ukrainian music band Step performing at the Kherson regional state administration. Their 1998 hit song “Smazhenyi kabanchyk” (Fried boar) was accompanied by two scantily clad female dancers. Many Ukrainians branded the controversial performance “inappropriate” for a government building and event. The event was dedicated to the International Women’s Day.
  3. Despite Ukraine not experiencing a real winter this year, and air temperature overall soaring in March, the central heating is still on in Kyiv. Kyivans can cancel the heating in the specific building they live in if they manage to persuade people occupying 75% of their apartment block to sign a request, which then needs to be sent to the municipal heating company Kyivteploenerho.
  4. A document was signed by Kyiv on March 11 that agreed to negotiating with the Russia-led militants in the occupied Donbas. This news led to protests in Kyiv. Several dozens of Servant of the People MPs have called on Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to stop the implementation of the agreement.
  5. A Servant of the People MP Liza Bogutskaya claimed that alcohol, sauna, and sex are effective cures against the coronavirus. She, however, advised against doing them all at once.
  6. Left bank news: Dozens of flower bouquets that weren’t sold during the International Women’s Day (traditionally known in Ukraine as tell-a-woman-she’s-kind-and-beautiful-and-give-her-flowers day) have been dumped on the street.

That is all for this week. Please, stay at home as much as you can, wash your hands and avoid unnecessary human contact, especially with the elders. We wish you a productive week and, please, don’t buy the entire supply of toilet paper in your local supermarket – that’s just not cool and unkind to your less panicking neighbours.