Moscow residents told to stay off work to combat COVID-19

A serviceman of the Russian Ministry for Civil Defence
A serviceman of the Russian Ministry for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters, wearing protective gear, disinfects Moscow’s Belorussky railway station on June 11, 2021, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo: AFP)
MOSCOW — Moscow’s mayor has effectively declared a public holiday for all of next week to combat a surge in COVID-19 cases.اضافة اعلان

Sergei Sobyanin announced the decision on Saturday, saying it would not affect organizations that maintain the Russian capital’s infrastructure, the military, and other strategically important enterprises.

Monday is anyway a public holiday, and the mayor told people to also stay off work for the rest of the week.

“To stop the rising rate of sickness and to save lives, today I signed a decree providing for non-working days from 15 to 19 June 2021 with pay for employees,” Sobyanin said on his official blog.

Sobyanin also ordered all bars, restaurants and venues to close by 11pm in the city until June 20.

On Saturday, Russia reported 13,510 new COVID-19 cases in the preceding 24 hours, the highest daily tally since early February. Of those, 6,701 were reported in Moscow, the highest tally in the city so far this year.

The mayor also urged elderly residents to remain at home, and for residents of the city to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Though vaccines have been readily available in the capital since January, when Russia launched its national inoculation program, take-up has been slow.

Sobyanin last month decried the low take-up, describing it as “remarkable” that hospitals in the capital were filling up with COVID-19 patients while vaccines were widely available.

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