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Duma to Scrap QR codes for entry into public buildings

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Duma to Scrap QR codes for entry into public buildings

Duma
Photo: TASS

The Russian State Duma will today scrap a bill introducing a nationalized COVID-19 vaccination status and history QR-code program for citizens entering public places or using public transport.

The decision comes as strong public opposition forced lawmakers to drop the nationwide bill that required proof of immunity in order to travel around the country. The controversial bill was introduced as Russia deals with a surge in COVID-19 cases and the rise of the Omicron variant. Currently, Russia’s COVID-19 death toll has reached an estimated 578,020—the third worst in the world behind the US and Brazil.

The rise in infections and deaths comes amid low vaccination rates, lax public attitudes towards health measures and the government’s reluctance to toughen restrictions.

Expect the Russian government to introduce greater restrictions in the short-term to halt the spread of COVID-19. It is likely that Moscow will push local governments to adopt a more stringent system of QR codes, which must currently be obtained from a government website. As Moscow transfers the responsibility of COVID-19 restrictions to local governments, expect these regions to be testing grounds for the level of surveillance citizens will accept in the medium-term, while sheltering the Kremlin from any immediate blowback.

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