Moscow has been imposing the strictest lockdown measures since June 2020
- Moscow will reintroduce lockdown measures from October 28th
- Supermarkets, pharmacies, only shops are allowed to remain open
- COVID-19 deaths and cases both hit daily highs
- Kremlin blames lackluster vaccination campaign for surge
MOSCOW, October 21 (Reuters) – Moscow will reintroduce COVID-19 lockdown measures from October 28, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Thursday, with supermarkets and pharmacies being the only stores allowed to stay open to catch the rising infections and Reduce deaths.
The decision came a day after President Vladimir Putin approved a nationwide one-week factory shutdown from October 30 to November 7, saying regional leaders could, at their discretion, introduce stricter measures.
The partial lockdown in the capital, the first since June last year, also runs until November 7th.
Sobyanin said all stores would close except those selling essential goods like supermarkets and pharmacies. Schools and kindergartens will also be closed, while bars and restaurants can only offer pick-up and delivery services.
The measures reflect a growing urgency in the face of the unstoppable increase in cases, which the Kremlin attributes to low vaccination rates. Continue reading
Similar restrictions will apply in the wider Moscow region, but Valentina Matvienko, chairman of the upper house of parliament and a close ally of Putin, said another nationwide lockdown was not advisable.
“It would be a severe blow to the economy, a psychological blow to the citizens. It is not necessary,” she quoted the TASS news agency as saying.
Russia reported 1,036 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours and 36,339 new infections on Thursday, both records at daily highs.
Authorities said they were monitoring a new strain of the Delta variant of the virus that is also spreading in England, but believed existing vaccines could cope with it. L1N2RH0KR
HESITATE TO VACCINATION
Russia was quick to develop and market its Sputnik-V vaccine when the coronavirus pandemic broke out last year, but uptake was slow as many Russians cited suspicion of authorities and fears of new medical devices.
Putin himself received the vaccine and repeatedly called on people to do the same, but with little success.
The vaccine has been approved for use in more than 70 countries, but European Union drug regulatory approval is unlikely until at least the first quarter of 2022 due to the lack of some data required for the review, a source knowledgeable told Reuters. Continue reading
But promoting uptake domestically is currently the most pressing challenge, as only around 48 million of the 144 million Russian people were fully vaccinated as of October 15, according to the Coronavirus Task Force.
In Moscow, Mayor Sobyanin has already announced four months of house residence restrictions for unvaccinated people over the age of 60.
Theaters and museums are exempt from the new lockdown and are allowed to stay open as long as they limit the number of visitors who wear masks and have to show QR codes on their cell phones to prove that they are vaccinated or clear of COVID. have recovered.
The Bolshoi Theater said it would soon only allow guests with QR codes, Interfax reported. Fashion house Prada said it had postponed a cultural event in Moscow, originally slated for November 12-13 with an installation by British artist Damien Hirst, due to the lockdown announcement.
Additional reporting by Gleb Stolyarov, Maxim Rodionov and Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Mark Trevelyan
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