Saturday, November 27, 2021

Moscow to reintroduce lockdown measures as virus cases, deaths soar

Only supermarkets and pharmacies will be allowed to stay open.

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Moscow will reintroduce Covid-19 related lockdown measures from Oct 28, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Thursday, with supermarkets and pharmacies the only shops allowed to stay open in an effort to cut soaring infection numbers and deaths.

The decision follows a statement from President Vladimir Putin a day earlier who approved a nationwide week-long workplace shutdown from Oct 30 to Nov 7 and said regional leaders could introduce other measures at their discretion.

Russia on Thursday reported 1,036 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours as well as 36,339 new infections, both a record daily high since the pandemic began.

The Kremlin has blamed the spike on a lacklustre vaccination campaign and apathy among the population and has urged Russians to get vaccinated.

Sobyanin, Moscow’s mayor, has already announced four months of stay at home restrictions for unvaccinated over-60s.

On Thursday, Sobyanin said all shops in the capital would close from Oct 28, except those selling essential goods, such as supermarkets and pharmacies.

Bars and restaurants will be forced to close, but can continue to operate takeaway and delivery services, he wrote on his personal website. Schools and kindergartens must also suspend their work, he said.

Theatres and museums were excluded and will be permitted to stay open provided they limit the number of visitors, who will be required to wear masks and present QR codes on their mobile phones to prove they have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid.

Similar restrictions will apply in the wider Moscow region, Governor Andrei Vorobyev said.

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