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Kyiv crematorium working round the clock amid COVID surge in Ukraine

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By Josephine Joly  with AFP
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Women walk past a fuming chimney of a crematorium at a cemetery in Kiev on November 11, 2021, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Women walk past a fuming chimney of a crematorium at a cemetery in Kiev on November 11, 2021, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.   -   Copyright  SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP

Cremations in Kyiv have soared with Ukraine in the eye of a COVID storm.

On Tuesday, the country registered a record 838 COVID-related deaths, the second-highest number in the world that day after Russia.

Infections are also soaring. Ministry of health data shows there were 18,668 new cases over the latest 24-hour period.

"To date, compared to the summer period, the number of processions [cremations] has doubled," said Andrey Yashchenko, a spokesman for the Kyiv crematorium.

"If during the summer there were on average 60 processions per day, now there are between 100 and 120."

Yashchenko said the crematorium had been working around the clock in recent weeks, staying open for more hours than usual and sometimes operating until midnight.

He added the facility cremated more than 2,800 people in October, compared to 1,400 in August.

The latest wave of COVID-19 comes as Ukraine struggles to convince people to get vaccinated. Only around a fifth of the population is fully jabbed.

But the recent rising cases numbers and new restrictions for the uninoculated have seen people flock to vaccination centres.