Hello and welcome to another weekly dispatch of cool and uncool news from Kyiv!

The quarantine in Ukraine has been extended to April 24. Public transport is only available to key workers who are given special passes. Street food and coffee takeaways have also been banned. And, if you’re in Kyiv, you will most likely need a face mask or respirator to enter a shop or pharmacy (here’s where you can order one).

Despite all the difficulties and uncertainty, there have been some positive news that will put a smile on your face.

  1. Amid job losses and salary cuts, the Ukrainian government has introduced some financial support to the nation. In that way, Ukrainians have been made exempt from paying mortgage until the end of quarantine (currently April 24) and those that receive government subsidies might receive extra money from the state.
  2. In the last week, two planes carrying hundreds of thousands of coronavirus tests, protective masks, and other medical cargo arrived from China.
  3. Many Ukrainians have started initiatives to help combat the pandemic. Read about these initiatives here. Ukrainian designers have also teamed to sew protective suits for medical workers, No Waste Ukraine recycling centre launched a vehicle that will come and collect your recyclables (instead of the normal process of Kyivans personally arriving to their centres) if you fill in a form in advance and pay, and internet shops made it easy to order food and hygiene essentials for pensioners.
  4. A Kyiv cafe, Paliturka, together with the International Red Cross Committee (IIRC) in Ukraine have started delivering coffee sets to medics who work with coronavirus patients. “Medics are currently on a stand-by basis. Probably like no one else they deserve a minute to rest and have coffee,” the IIRC wrote announcing the project.
  5. A folk Ukrainian music band DakhaBrakha (that boasts David Beckham among their fans) have released a new album. Listen to it for free here.
  6. A Ukrainian institute has invented its own coronavirus tests. Though, they add, that the project is seriously underfunded.

Uncool:

  1. Ukraine’s unemployment figures have soared to a whopping 700,000 due to the coronavirus quarantine in the country,
  2. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Ukraine is now 480, 102 of them are in Kyiv. This number includes four MPs and Kyiv police chief.
  3. Ukraine’s former foreign minister Leonid Kozhara was arrested on charges of murder.
  4. An MP from the ruling Servant of the People party, leaked a video seemingly showing the brother of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief-of-staff, Andriy Yermak, attempting to sell government positions for personal profit.
  5. Photos of a massive queue at the Polish-Ukrainian border crossing checkpoint have gone viral on social media after Ukrainian government announced that they are completely shutting down all borders. As you can expect, no social distancing was maintained there.
  6. Due to the rise of expenses aimed at fighting the coronavirus, the Ukrainian government wants to cut the financing of the country’s cultural institutions for 2020 by 70-100%.