“Cocktails and masks don’t really go together”

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But on July 24, the city threw a party in Gorky Park for the newly graduated high school students. Over 10,000 young people attended, almost all without a mask, a long night of dancing, hugs and loud celebrations.

Schools across Russia have been urged to reopen for the new school year on September 1. Traffic in the Moscow metro, which fell 85% at the height of the crisis, has rebounded to near-normal levels, with more than 5.4 million passengers. trains Tuesday, a record after the lockdown.

Unlike the Sun Belt in the United States, however, Russia has so far seen no increase in new cases, at least according to official statistics. The daily infection rate nationwide has hovered between 5,000 and 6,000 cases since President Vladimir V. Putin declared last month that the battle against the pandemic was won.

Mr Putin continued with a massive unmasked military parade in Red Square on June 24 and seven days of nationwide voting until July 1 on constitutional amendments that allow him to remain in power until 2036.

Kremlin critics say the numbers are being massed to avoid exposing Mr Putin’s confidence as premature. And there are some small signs, even in the official numbers, of possible problems ahead.

The daily number of new infections in Moscow, after steadily dropping to 530 in mid-July, began to gradually increase, rising to 695 on Friday. This is a big improvement from the more than 6,000 cases reported each day in the Russian capital at the height of the outbreak in May – and a far cry from the more than 50,000 new cases reported each day this week in the United States – United – but the upward trend in Moscow, if continued and accelerated, could quickly reverse progress.

The Moscow city government on Friday warned of heavy fines for not wearing masks on public transport and in shops.

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