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On Tuesday, the city of Moscow imposed health restrictions, the first since the summer, in the face of a new rise in the number of Covid-19 infections, in light of the reluctance to receive vaccines, while the Kremlin is considering measures at the national level to stop the spread of the virus.
This wave caused by the delta mutant is exacerbated after a previous outbreak in the summer, due to the slow vaccination campaign and the lack of respect for social distancing measures with no strict restrictions.
“The number of people hospitalized with serious cases is also rising every day,” wrote the mayor of the capital, Sergei Sobyanin, and ordered “urgent measures” to protect the most vulnerable, especially the elderly.
Thus, the authorities of the Russian capital ruled that 80% of service workers should be vaccinated, compared to the current 60%, by January 1, 2022, in addition to quarantining all those over sixty years without receiving the vaccine between October 25 and February 25 /February, working remotely for “at least thirty percent” of corporate employees.
“I understand how burdensome and unpleasant the current restrictions are, but there is no other way to protect you from this dangerous disease,” Sobyanin said.
They are the first restrictions ordered by Moscow since those were gradually lifted from the end of July. In June, the capital experienced a week without work to stop the spread of the disease, but for several weeks it adopted the health certificate, which is unpopular and weighs on the economy.
But on Tuesday, Russia recorded a new record, with 1,015 deaths in 24 hours, bringing the total government toll to 225,325 deaths, the highest in Europe. But this figure is much lower than the real numbers, as the National Statistics Agency, Rosstat, announced more than 400,000 deaths at the end of August.
In this context, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister in charge of health, Tatiana Golikova, requested that the week of October 30 until November 7 be declared a holiday throughout the country. President Vladimir Putin could decide the matter from Wednesday.
For the regions most affected by the epidemic, this measure may enter into force on October 23, Golikova said.
Putin has previously announced similar holidays, and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin expressed his support for that on Tuesday.
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The Kremlin has always preferred this measure aimed at limiting the movement of people and thus mitigating the spread of the virus, in order to preserve the economy, rather than imposing a general closure.
On Tuesday, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov called on the Russians to be “more rational” and receive the vaccine, while the number of fully vaccinated people reached 35% against the background of a general reluctance about vaccines manufactured by Russia.
“We are in the habit of holding the state responsible for everything, but at the same time the attitude of the country’s citizens should be more responsible,” Peskov told reporters.
But he acknowledged that the authorities had not done enough to explain to the Russians that “vaccination is irreplaceable.”
“Now, it is time for each of us to show a sense of citizenship,” he said.
According to independent opinion polls, more than half of Russians do not intend to receive the vaccine.
Prior to Moscow, several regions re-imposed mandatory health certificates to enter public places.
On Monday, Saint Petersburg, the country’s second city, announced the obligation to present this health certificate from November 1 to be able to attend sports matches or cultural events with more than 40 people, and from December 1 to enter restaurants and shops.
© 2021 AFP