Thursday, October 21, 2021

Moscow orders new restrictions as COVID-19 infections rise

MOSCOW – The mayor of Moscow on Saturday released a week for some workplaces and restrictions imposed on many businesses to fight coronavirus infections that have more than doubled in the past week.

The national coronavirus task force reported 6,701 new cases of infection in Moscow, compared to 2,936 on June 6. The national daily infection count has risen by almost half to 13,510 in the past week.

After several weeks of closure when the pandemic spread in the spring of 2020, Moscow eased restrictions and did not reinstate them during subsequent increases. But due to the recent sharp rise, “it is impossible not to react to such a situation,” said Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

He ordered that businesses that do not normally work on weekends remain closed for the next week while paying employees. In addition, food courts and play areas for children in shopping malls should start a week from Sunday, and restaurants and bars should limit their service to 23:00 to 06:00.

Earlier this week, city officials said the use of masks and gloves during mass transit, in shops and other public places would be intensified and that offenders could be fined up to 5,000 rubles ($ 70).

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Passengers-in-Moscow
Passengers, some with face masks, will walk on 11 June 2021 on a platform of Belorussky train station in Moscow, Russia. (Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP via Getty Images)

Although Russia was the first country to use a coronavirus vaccine, its use was relatively low; many Russians are reluctant to be vaccinated.

President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that 18 million Russians had received the vaccine – about 12 percent of the population.

During the entire pandemic period, the task force reported nearly 5.2 million infections in the country of approximately 146 million people and 126,000 deaths. However, a report by the state statistics agency Rosstat found more than 144,000 virus-related deaths on Friday alone last year.

The statistics agency, unlike the task force, counts deaths in which coronavirus infection was present or suspected, but is not the leading cause of death.

According to the agency’s report, approximately 340,000 more people died in 2020 than in 2019; it did not provide details on the causes of the higher death toll on an annual basis. The higher death rate and a lower number of births combined have made a decline in the population of 702,000, about twice the decline in 2019, Rosstat said.

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