KYIV, Feb 19 (Reuters) - The number of Ukrainians who died in December jumped 42.9% to 67,663 people compared to the same period in 2019, the State Statistics Service said in data released late on Thursday that was consistent with a spike in COVID-19 fatalities.
Overall in 2020, Ukraine, a country of 41 million, reported 6.1% more fatalities - or 616,835 people - than in the previous year.
As of Friday, Ukraine had officially registered 24,972 deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic nearly a year ago.
The figure marks a lower per capita death rate than seen in many European countries, a fact the government attributes to its tough lockdown measures.
However, Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF's representative in Ukraine, for UNICEF, told Reuters in a recent interview that the lower death toll could be partly due to less widespread testing. (Reporting by Matthias Williams and Natalia Zinets Editing by Gareth Jones)