Moscow closes shops and restaurants as Russia records record COVID cases

Moscow shuts down non-essential services for 11 days to combat rising COVID-19 infections.

Russia has reported a record number of daily COVID-19 cases and deaths as Moscow shut down non-essential services for 11 days to combat rising infections.

Russia, the country hardest hit in Europe by the pandemic, has struggled with low vaccination rates despite developing several of its own blows.

The last few weeks have seen a daily number of cases and deaths at the highest level of the pandemic, and the official government tally on Thursday reported new records of 40,096 infections and 1,159 deaths in the last 24 hours.

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

Outlets, restaurants, sports and entertainment venues are closed, as are schools and kindergartens. Only stores that sell food, medicine, and other essentials can stay open.

Lagging vaccines

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

As of Thursday, only 32 percent of Russia’s population had been fully vaccinated, according to the Gogov website, which counts COVID-19 data.

The Russians have proven to be stubbornly resistant to inoculation. [Pavel Golovkin/AP]

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

Roads in Moscow on Thursday morning were slightly less congested than usual, but the city’s extensive metro network was as busy as ever, with many passengers without masks.

Authorities have not required Russians to stay home during the non-working period and many planned to use the days to travel across the country and abroad.

The mayor of the Black Sea resort city of Sochi warned of a large 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 the Rosstat statistics agency in October suggest that more than 400,000 people have died in the country from the coronavirus.

After a severe lockdown that lasted for months at the start of the pandemic, Russian authorities have been hesitant to impose further restrictions that would damage the economy, instead urging Russians to get vaccinated.

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