MOSCOW (AP) – Authorities in Moscow on Thursday announced a plan to close restaurants and non-food stores and introduce other restrictions later this month, with Russia recording the daily number of new coronavirus infections and deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The government’s coronavirus task force reported 36,339 new confirmed infections and 1,036 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll in Russia to 227,389 – by far the highest in Europe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reacted to the growing contagion and death toll on Wednesday by ordering Russians off work for a period beginning October 30 and running until the following week, and Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin , continued Thursday by introducing a series of restrictions in the capital. .
He said that all restaurants, cafes and non-food stores, gyms, cinemas and other entertainment venues in the Russian capital will be closed for a period from October 28 to November 7, and schools and kindergartens will also be closed. . Access to museums, theaters and other venues will be limited to holders of digital codes proving vaccination or previous illness, a practice that will also remain in place after November 7.
“The situation in Moscow is developing according to the worst case scenario,” Sobyanin wrote on his blog, adding that the number of infections in the capital was approaching historic highs.
Daily infections in Russia have been on the rise for weeks, and the death toll from coronavirus topped 1,000 for the first time over the weekend amid low vaccination rates, lax public attitudes towards caution and the government’s reluctance to tighten restrictions. Only about 45 million Russians – about a third of its nearly 146 million inhabitants – are fully vaccinated.
The non-work period, which includes a two-day public holiday, is expected to help limit the spread by preventing people from accessing crowded offices and public transport. The government also urged local authorities to restrict access to restaurants, theaters and other entertainment venues during the period.
Putin said that in some areas where the situation is most threatening, he said the non-work period could start as early as Saturday and be extended after November 7.
So far, the Kremlin has ruled out a nationwide lockdown like the one at the start of the pandemic that has hit the economy hard and undermined Putin’s popularity, instead allowing regional authorities to decide on local restrictions. .
Many of Russia’s 85 regions have already restricted participation in large public events and introduced digital codes proving vaccination or past illness for access to restaurants, theaters and other venues. Some have made vaccinations mandatory for some officials and people over 60.
But Moscow had avoided the restrictions so far, with restaurants and cinemas teeming with people, crowds teeming with nightclubs and karaoke bars, and commuters largely ignoring mask warrants on public transport even as the intensive care was filling up quickly.
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