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Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, has been hospitalised together with his chief of staff after testing positive for coronavirus, Nataliya Vasilyeva reports from Moscow.

His spokeswoman, Iuliia Mendel, insisted on Thursday that both President Zelenskiy and Andriy Yermak, his chief of staff, are “active and displaying mild symptoms.”

Mr Zelenskiy, whose wife spent more than two weeks in hospital with a severe case of Covid-19 in June, tested positive for the virus earlier this week and was moved to a hospital in the capital Kyiv on Tuesday to enjoy “better conditions for self-isolation and care for coronavirus patients,” according to his spokeswoman.

Mr Zelenskiy has kept a busy schedule in the past couple of months, traveling around Europe for talks. He was on an official visit in the UK in October, meeting with Boris Johnson as well as the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge.

Ukraine is buckling under a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic as the total number of confirmed cases reached half a million after a record 11,000 new cases were reported on Thursday.

Ukrainian officials have ordered all non-essential businesses to be closed Friday night to Monday morning for weekend lockdowns this month.

Maxim Stepanov, Ukraine’s health minister, on Thursday conceded that what Ukraine really needs to deal with the deteriorating hospital crunch is a full lockdown but he said that the country “can’t afford it because of the economy.”