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Homeland Security

First COVID-19 Case Registered at Chernobyl Nuclear Plant

Sputnik News

11:54 GMT 24.06.2020

In mid-March, Ukraine introduced a nationwide quarantine for a month and subsequently extended it several times. The Ukrainian government decided to relax coronavirus-related restrictions starting 11 May.

A COVID-19 has been registered among personnel of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management said in a statement on Facebook.

According to the statement, the agency received information about a Chernobyl worker with a confirmed coronavirus diagnosis on 23 June. The agency noted that the employee was last at the station on 9 June due to his vacation.

"The employee is in self-isolation, he is under the supervision of a doctor", the statement reads.

Over 39,850 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Ukraine and the country's COVID-19 death toll stands at over 1,061, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 18,000 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Ukraine.

Today the Chernobyl NPP operates in a radiation monitoring mode and organises safety measures for personnel and the entire population. The damaged reactor is covered in a giant concrete sarcophagus to stop more radioactive material escaping. The nuclear power plant's personnel monitor radiation, and eventually plan to dismantle the concrete sarcophagus and remove the nuclear fuel.

The explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the early hours of 26 April 1986, and the resulting fallout remain humanity's closest brush with the dangers of nuclear power.

Some 190 tonnes of highly radioactive material was expelled into the atmosphere on that day, exposing people to radioactivity 400 times greater than that from the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

As a result, the disaster led to increased amounts of cancer rates among children and adults, as well as to birth defects. Thousands are estimated to have died as a result of radiation exposure.


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