Covid: Moscow imposes new restrictions as infections soar

Moscow’s mayor has ordered unvaccinated people over 60 and those with chronic illnesses to stay at home, as Russia struggles with record Covid-19 deaths and infections.

Sergei Sobyanin said the restrictions would last four months, starting on Monday. Those affected will only be allowed to leave home to take exercise.

Officials blame the low vaccination rate and more infectious Delta variant.

Romania, Ukraine and Latvia also have record Covid cases now.

The Russian government has proposed a week-long workplace shutdown, from 30 October to 7 November, in the hope of curbing the new surge in infections. Many hospitals are now struggling to cope with the influx of Covid patients.

The official death toll from Covid on Tuesday was 1,015 – a new record. Saturday’s toll went above 1,000 for the first time in Russia’s pandemic. The number of new cases on Tuesday was 33,740.

In Russia, 35% of the population of more than 140 million people has had at least one jab against Covid – a lower rate than in most of Europe.

The authorities blame widespread suspicion of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for the low rate, but there have also been production delays.

Businesses in Moscow will have to let at least 30% of their staff work from home during the four-month period of restrictions announced by Mayor Sobyanin.

On his blog, he wrote angrily that out of three million Muscovites aged 60 and above, just 1.14 million had been vaccinated: « As a result, today 60% of Covid patients in intensive care are over-60 Muscovites, » he said.

Elsewhere in Europe:

  • Romania has reported its worst Covid death figures so far: 574 in a day. Just over one-third of adults in Romania have been fully vaccinated – well below the average rate in the EU
  • Latvia is introducing a strict lockdown lasting nearly a month, from this Thursday to 15 November, to tackle a Covid surge which has made its death rate among the highest in the EU. Its total of confirmed new cases last week was 49% higher than the week before
  • In Ukraine, the daily death toll rose to a record 538 on Tuesday, and daily new infections have gone above 16,000, stretching hospital emergency wards to breaking point.

Latvia’s Baltic neighbours Estonia and Lithuania also have Covid infection rates among the highest in the EU.

More than 225,000 people have died from Covid in Russia, according to official figures – the highest toll in Europe.

World Opinions News – BBC News

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