MOSCOW (AP) – Russia announced another daily report of confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday, as the surge in infections prompted the Kremlin to advise most people to refrain from work starting later this week.
The Russian government’s coronavirus task force has counted 37,930 new confirmed cases in 24 hours, the highest since the start of the pandemic. The task force also reported 1,069 deaths from COVID-19 in the same period, slightly less than the record 1,075 hit over the weekend.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russians not to go to work between October 30 and November 7, when the country will observe long weekends. At this time, most public organizations and private enterprises, with the exception of those that operate key infrastructure and some others, must stop working.
In some of Russia’s 85 regions where the situation is particularly serious, Putin said the non-working period could start earlier and extend beyond November 7. Six of them – Kursk, Nizhny Novgorod, Novgorod, Perm, Samara and Voronezh – began to shut down. working period Monday.
Authorities in Moscow ordered it to start on Thursday, when gyms, most entertainment venues and most shops, as well as kindergartens and schools, closed for 11 days. During this period, restaurants and cafes will only be open for takeaway or delivery. Grocery stores and pharmacies may remain open.
Access to museums, theaters, concert halls and other venues will be restricted to those who have digital codes on their smartphones confirming vaccinations or previous illness, a practice that will remain in effect after November 7.
Putin also ordered local authorities to order unvaccinated people over 60 to stay at home and to close nightclubs and other entertainment venues.
Russian officials hope the downtime will help limit the spread of the virus by preventing people from entering offices and using public transport where mask requirements are poorly enforced.
Overall, Russia has recorded more than 8.2 million confirmed cases of the virus and 231,669 deaths, the highest death rate in Europe and the fifth largest in the world after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.
The government blamed the latest spike in infections and deaths on low vaccination rates and low public attitudes towards precautions. Only about 45 million Russians – about a third of the country’s nearly 146 million people – are fully vaccinated.
Russia was the first country in the world to sanction a coronavirus vaccine, launching Sputnik V in August 2020, and it has plenty. But implementation was slow, partly due to conflicting signals from the authorities.
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