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Moscow to enter shutdown amid spike in COVID-19 cases

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Moscow to enter shutdown amid spike in COVID-19 cases

Moscow COVID
Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP

Russia’s capital city, Moscow, will begin an 11-day shutdown today amid record COVID-19 cases and deaths, with 5,789 cases and 1,523 hospitalizations recorded on October 27th.

Shops, schools and entertainment venues will close but grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open, and restaurants will be allowed to serve takeout and delivery.

Despite the wide availability of COVID-19 vaccines across Russia including the indigenously produced Sputnik V, vaccine hesitancy remains high. Only about one-third of the country’s population is currently inoculated against the coronavirus. The government will provide state-backed credit to small businesses to cover part of employees’ salaries, equal to the national minimum wage of 12,792 rubles ($180 USD). However, that still leaves businesses with the responsibility of paying their workers or furloughing them.

Moscow’s Mayor Sergei Sobyanin introduced mandatory vaccinations for service-sector workers and residents over the age of sixty, who face a three-month lockdown if not vaccinated or recently recovered. However, if vaccination is not made mandatory for more of the population, it is unlikely that vaccination rates will increase significantly after this lockdown given the mixed narrative of government authorities on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.

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