Moscow Partially Shuts Down as Russia Records Record COVID Cases

Moscow Partially Shuts Down as Russia Records Record COVID Cases

Russia has reported a record number of daily COVID-19 cases and deaths as Moscow shut down non-essential services for 11 days to fight the spike in infections.
The worst-hit country in Europe by the pandemic, Russia has battled low vaccination rates despite developing several of its own vaccines.

In recent weeks, the daily number of cases and deaths has reached the highest level in the pandemic, with official government tally on Thursday showing new records of 40,096 infections and 1,159 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Authorities avoided the type of severe shutdowns imposed in many countries, but shut down all non-essential services in the capital, Moscow, from Thursday to November 7.

Retail businesses, restaurants, and sports and entertainment venues are all closed, as are schools and kindergartens. Only stores selling food, medicine and other basic necessities are allowed to remain open.

Overdue vaccinations

President Vladimir Putin’s government is pinning its hopes on local vaccines like the Sputnik V jab, but the Russians have been stubbornly resistant to inoculation.

As of Thursday, only 32% of the Russian population had been fully vaccinated, according to the Gogov website, which lists COVID-19 data.

The Russians have been stubbornly resistant to inoculation [Pavel Golovkin/AP]

Putin last week ordered nationwide paid leave between October 30 and November 7 in a bid to reverse the rise in infections, and authorities in Moscow have followed suit by ordering the shutdown of non-essential services in the capital from Thursday.

Moscow’s roads on Thursday morning were slightly less congested than usual, but the city’s sprawling metro system was busier than ever, with many passengers not wearing masks.

Authorities did not require Russians to stay at home during the non-work period, and many planned to use those days to travel across the country and abroad.

The mayor of the Black Sea resort Sochi has warned of a massive influx of tourists and demand in Russia for flights to Turkey and Egypt has skyrocketed.

Minimize the pandemic

Russia has recorded a total of nearly 8.4 million cases and more than 235,000 deaths, although independent experts say authorities have downplayed the severity of the pandemic.

Figures released by statistics agency Rosstat in October suggest more than 400,000 people have died in the country from the coronavirus.

After a severe lockdown lasting several months at the start of the pandemic, Russian authorities have been reluctant to impose further restrictions that would hurt the economy, instead urging Russians to get vaccinated.


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