- COVID Deaths Across Country, Cases Reach New Highs
- The Kremlin accuses the slowness of vaccinations
- Officials to revamp struggling vaccines ad campaign – report
- Kremlin denies U-Turn, but says campaign is adjusted
MOSCOW, October 28 (Reuters) – The Russian capital on Thursday put in place its toughest COVID-19-related lockdown measures in more than a year, as day-long pandemic deaths and infections in the nationwide have reached new heights against a backdrop of slow vaccination rates in the world’s largest countries. country.
Moscow’s partial lockdown, in which only essential stores like pharmacies and supermarkets are allowed to remain open and public schools and kindergartens are closed, precedes a week of nationwide workplace closure from October 30.
Like Moscow, some regions have decided to launch their partial closures on Thursday or even earlier in a bid to reduce the number of infections ahead of the national initiative.
Residents of Moscow are allowed to leave their homes in opposition to a widespread lockdown in the summer of 2020, but the new measures indicate growing concern among officials over the record number of deaths the Kremlin has blamed on reluctance to vaccinate.
Authorities on Thursday reported an all-time high of 1,159 nationwide deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, as the number of daily infections crossed the 40,000 mark for the first time.
In the lower house of the State Duma parliament, Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin proposed requiring all lawmakers to be vaccinated and suggested that latecomers should work remotely.
“Imagine the consequences for the country if Parliament stops functioning,” Volodin told the lower house. “Every day we see how our (…) colleagues end up in hospital beds,” he said.
His proposal was met with angry cries from the chamber of parliament with someone shouting, “What kind of public relations is this?
Many Russians said they were reluctant to get vaccinated and rejected the four vaccines Russia has registered, including the flagship Sputnik V vaccine.
Some people say they are hesitant due to mistrust of the authorities, while others raise concerns about the safety of vaccines.
As of October 22, official data showed that 49.1 million Russians were fully immunized. The total population, excluding annexed Crimea, is officially estimated at around 144 million.
RELAUNCHING OF THE ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN?
The Kommersant daily reported on Thursday that the Kremlin was planning to revamp the troubled public information campaign on the importance of getting vaccinated.
The new campaign would pay more attention to the more than 80 regions of Russia and adopt a less aggressive and negative tone than before, according to the report.
The existing campaign has often highlighted the risk of death for Russians who refuse to be vaccinated rather than tying the vaccination to the freedom to be exempt from lockdown-like restrictions, he said.
However, the Kremlin denied plans to relaunch the ad campaign, but said the strategy is constantly being adjusted and the campaign will continue.
Many Russians have decided that this is the perfect time to take off for a beach vacation abroad instead of squatting at home.
On Thursday, feelings were mixed regarding the lockdown on the streets of Moscow. Some residents like Lyubov Machekhina said they believed it would obviously help slow infections.
But others like Mikhail, a Muscovite who did not give his last name, expressed doubts that there would be any real impact without more of the population being vaccinated.
“In my opinion, that will not change anything. Maybe that will slow down (the spread of cases) a bit, but in fact, without herd immunity – that’s nonsense. I don’t think it will work. “
Reporting by Tom Balmforth, Lev Sergeev, Anton Zverev, Gleb Stolyarov and Andrey Ostroukh; edited by Andrew Osborn
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