Russians told to stay away from work as daily Covid-19 cases hit record high

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Russians Told To Stay Away From Work As Daily Covid-19 Cases Hit Record High Russians Told To Stay Away From Work As Daily Covid-19 Cases Hit Record High
A funeral worker carries a coffin cover for a patient who died of Covid-19 at Infectious Hospital No 5 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press

Russia has reported another daily record of confirmed coronavirus cases as a surge in infections prompted the Kremlin to tell most people to stay away from work starting later this week.

The Russian government’s coronavirus task force tallied 37,930 new confirmed cases in 24 hours, the highest number since the start of the pandemic.

The task force also reported 1,069 more Covid-19 deaths in the same period, slightly fewer than a record of 1,075 reached over the weekend.

President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russians not to go to work between October 30 and November 7, when the country will observe an extended holiday.


A medical worker wearing a special suit to protect against Covid-19 treats a patient at an ICU in Infectious Hospital No 23 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia (Roman Yarovitcyn/AP)

In some of Russia’s 85 regions where the situation is particularly grave, Mr Putin said the non-working period could begin earlier and be extended beyond November 7.

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During that time, most state organisations and private businesses, except for those operating key infrastructure and a few others, are to halt work.

Officials in Moscow plan to order the off-work period to start on Thursday.

Gyms, most entertainment venues and most stores are to be closed for 11 days along with nurseries and schools.

Restaurants and cafes will only be open for takeout or delivery orders during that period.

Food stores and pharmacies can stay open.

Access to museums, theatres, concert halls and other venues will be limited to those holding digital codes on their smartphones to prove vaccination or past illness, a practice that will remain in place after November 7.


Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a cabinet meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russian authorities hope the idle time will help limit the spread of the virus by keeping people out of offices and off public transportation, where mask mandates have been loosely enforced.

Overall, Russia has registered more than 8.2 million confirmed virus cases and 231,669 deaths, by far the highest death toll in Europe and the fifth-highest in the world after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.

The government has blamed the latest spike in infections and deaths on low vaccination rates and lax public attitudes towards taking precautions.

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Only about 45 million Russians – roughly a third of the country’s nearly 146 million people – are fully vaccinated.

Russia was the first country in the world to authorise a coronavirus vaccine, launching Sputnik V in August 2020, and has plentiful supplies.

But uptake has been slow, blamed in part on conflicting signals from authorities.

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