The coronavirus deaths and infections in Ukraine reached their highest levels for a second consecutive day on Friday. This is a serious problem for the country that has one of Europe’s lowest vaccination rates.

Ukrainian health officials reported 23785 new confirmed infections, 614 deaths and 61 injuries in the last 24 hours.

Kyiv authorities closed schools for two weeks beginning Friday. Similar measures were also taken in other areas where there was high levels of contagion.

Authorities blame the surge in infections on a slow pace of vaccination in this nation of 41 million. Ukrainians have the option to choose from Moderna, AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Sinovac vaccines. However, only 15% of the population has been fully vaccinated. This is Europe’s lowest level, after Armenia.

The country has seen over 2.7 million cases of infection and 63,000 deaths.

Due to the rapid rise in contagion, the government has tightened restrictions. To board long-distance buses, trains, and planes, you must show proof of vaccination.

A black market has sprung up for fake vaccination certificates amid restrictions. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zeleskyy presided over a meeting earlier in the week to discuss ways of fighting this illegal practice.

Denys Monastyrsky, Interior Minister, stated that 800 criminal cases have been opened by police regarding the use of these certificates. He also said that 100 mobile units were deployed by the ministry to locate their owners, who will face severe punishment.

He claimed that Nadiya Svchenko, a former lawmaker, had produced fake proof of vaccination when she returned to Ukraine on Friday.

According to police, they believe that 15 hospitals in the country were involved in issuing fake vaccination certificates.

Authorities have begun offering shots in shopping centers to encourage vaccination. As the number of infections rose, people began to be more skeptical. In fact, in 24 hours, a record 270,000 people were vaccinated.