Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

The daily number of COVID-19 deaths in Russia has hit another high point amid a rise in infections that has forced the Kremlin to order most Russians to stay off work from this week.
Slow vaccination rates have allowed the virus to spread rapidly across the east Europe. Ukraine and Bulgaria also reported record daily deaths on Tuesday.
A doctor wearing a special suit to protect against COVID-19 treats a patient in an intensive care unit at Infectious Hospital No. 23 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, on Wednesday, October 20, 2021. The low vaccination rate in Russia, where only approx.  a third of the population is fully vaccinated, raises concern as the country suffers from a sharp increase in cases, and sets records for infections and deaths almost every day of this month.  (AP Photo / Roman Yarovitzyn)
A doctor wearing a special suit to protect against COVID-19 is treating a patient in an intensive care unit in Russia. (AP)

The figure brought the country’s official pandemic death toll to 232,775, Europe’s by far the highest.

Russia registered 36,446 new ones daily coronavirus cases, slightly less than in recent days.
In a move to curb the spread of the virus, Russian President Vladimir Putin has booked a work-free period between 30 October and 7 November, during which the country takes an extended holiday.

During that time, most government organizations and private companies will cease operations, and most stores will close with kindergartens, schools, gyms, and most entertainment venues.

Restaurants and cafes will only be open for take-away or delivery. Grocery stores, pharmacies and companies operating key infrastructure can remain open.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered new COVID-19 restrictions as cases skyrocket. (AP)

Access to museums, theaters, concert halls and other venues will be restricted to persons who have digital codes on their smartphones to prove that they have been vaccinated or recovered after COVID-19, a practice that will remain in place after the 7th November.

The new restrictions have encouraged more people to be vaccinated.

Olga Korina, an 82-year-old resident of Moscow, said she was reluctant to receive a vaccine, but changed her mind after seeing that proof of vaccination would be required to attend concerts.

“Everything will be closed to us and I love music so much,” she said.

Putin has asked local officials to order unvaccinated people over 60 to stay home and close nightclubs and other entertainment venues.

Russian authorities have also strengthened the enforcement of mask mandates on public transport and indoor venues.

The Russian leader urged the worst-hit regions to start the break earlier and possibly extend it beyond November 7.

A young woman wearing a face mask to help slow the spread of coronavirus is leaving a subway in Moscow. (AP)

Six of Russia’s 85 regions began the vacancy on Monday, and more joined them on Tuesday. Moscow will suspend work for most people on Thursday.

Russian authorities expect the recess will help curb the spread of infection by keeping people out of offices and public transportation.

However, sales of airline tickets and hotel reservations at Russia’s Black Sea resorts have risen in line with the news of the extended holiday, forcing the authorities in southern Russia to close entertainment venues and restrict access to restaurants and bars for customers with digital health codes.

Travel companies also reported an increase in the demand for package tours to Egyptian resorts.

The government is to blame for the rapid spread of the virus and soaring deaths at low vaccination rates.

Only about 49 million Russians – about a third of the country’s nearly 146 million people – are fully vaccinated.

A woman touches the sculpture ‘Sad Angel’, a memorial to the doctors of St. Petersburg who died of coronavirus during their work. (AP)

“It is important to speed up the pace of vaccination, otherwise we will not be able to control the spread of infection,” Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said at a cabinet meeting.

Health Minister Mikhail Murashhko reported that nearly 90 per cent of hospital beds are filled with over 268,000 COVID-19 patients, adding that the authorities need to expand the hospital capacity in the country.

“It’s a colossal burden on the health care system,” he said.

Russia was the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccine and launched Sputnik V in August 2020.

It has abundant supplies of the vaccine, but citizens have been slow to get shots, a tendency partly due to conflicting signals from the authorities.

In neighboring Ukraine, vaccination has been even slower.

About 16 percent of the country’s 41 million people have been fully vaccinated. Confirmed cases and deaths have risen over the past week, and the Ukrainian Ministry of Health on Tuesday reported a record 734 deaths in 24 hours.

People wearing face masks leave a subway in Moscow. (AP)

Bulgaria, the EU’s least vaccinated nation with about 25 percent of the adult population fully inoculated, reported 5863 new confirmed cases and 243 deaths on Tuesday, both national daily records.

Medical staff are concerned that the latest wave of infections could overwhelm the country’s ailing health system.

In the Baltics, which borders Russia, Estonian authorities are considering new coronavirus restrictions in addition to those that came into force a day ago.

Nevertheless, Estonia seeks to avoid a general shutdown such as that imposed by neighboring Latvia in order to counter the rapid spread of the virus.

Latvia’s lockdown, which started on October 21 and runs until November 15, includes a nationwide curfew, closes most shops and suspends entertainment, sports and cultural events.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *