The residents of the small eastern Ukrainian town of Novi Sanzhary violently protested the authorities’ move to bring 72 Ukrainians evacuated from China to a local hospital for a two-week quarantine over coronavirus fears.
A flight of Ukrainian budget airline SkyUp was originally intended to fly 77 people from the Chinese Hubei province to Novi Sanzhary, but three people with a high fever were not allowed to board, one Ukrainian citizen did not board the plane, and one person left the airplane at a stopover in Almaty in Kazakhstan.
As the locals got wind of the arrival of the convoy of buses, they set up roadblocks, burned tires and hurled stones at the arriving vehicles, but eventually police managed to clear the road.
In a Facebook message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky explained that none of those taken to the hospital showed any signs of infection and asked the locals to show compassion.
“Attempts to block routes, block hospitals, not allow Ukrainian citizens to Ukraine – this doesn’t show us on our best side,” Zelensky wrote. “There is a danger of disease, but there is another danger that I would like to say: The danger of forgetting that we are all human, and we are all Ukrainian. Each of us, including those who ended up in Wuhan during the epidemic.”
The hospital will be protected by the Ukrainian National Guard for the duration of the quarantine and Zelensky said that “their protection will be much more serious than that of the president.“
Title image: Local residents of Novi Sanzhary hurl stones at t. (Reuters)