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Coronavirus: Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy tests positive for COVID-19

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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has tested positive for COVID-19.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has tested positive for COVID-19.   -   Copyright  Aaron Chown/AP   -  
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Ukraine's president has tested positive for COVID-19, his press service announced on Monday.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, 42, whose wife contracted the disease several months ago, "feels well and will continue to perform his duties by teleworking, in isolation," a statement said.

"I have a 37.5°C fever," Zelensky said on Facebook. "Most (people) are overcoming COVID-19. I'm going to get through it too," he added.

The head of his administration, Andriï Lermak, said on Facebook that he also tested positive and was feeling well.

"I feel good," said Lermak, who confirmed he will still participate in a video conference of advisers of the Ukrainian, Russian, French and German heads of state on the peace process in eastern Ukraine.

In June, Zelenskyy said in an interview that he had thought of deliberately infecting himself to show his compatriots that the disease was "frightening" but was not "the plague". His team had dissuaded him from doing so.

This former Soviet republic with a population of about 40 million people and a very dilapidated public health system has seen a dramatic increase in the pandemic in recent weeks, with tens of thousands of new cases every day.

In total, nearly 470,000 cases of coronavirus have been recorded to date in Ukraine, including 8,687 deaths.

The country is "close to a health catastrophe" due to the lack of available beds and medical staff, warned the health minister, Maksym Stepanov, last week.

He announced tighter restrictions on Monday. Under such measures, only essential shops and services such as food stores, pharmacies and public transport would continue to operate and all planned surgeries throughout the country would be postponed for the time being.

The authorities are considering additional restrictions on the population on weekends to try and stop the epidemic.