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Moscow to introduce new COVID-19 restrictions

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Moscow to introduce new COVID-19 restrictions

Shamil Zhumatov Reuters
Photo: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters

Russia will introduce multiple new COVID-19 restrictions in Moscow today aimed at slowing rising case numbers.

Specifically, unvaccinated Moscow residents 60 years and older, as well as unvaccinated people suffering from chronic diseases, are ordered to stay at home for four months. Businesses are also required to have at least 30% of their staff work from home.

Restrictions targeting unvaccinated individuals affect a significant portion of Moscow’s 12 million residents—around 70% of Russians are unvaccinated. Despite Sputnik V being the first publicly available COVID-19 vaccine, Russia’s vaccination rates lag due to rampant hesitation to receive the shot. Likewise, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s belief that vaccinations should be voluntary continues to slow vaccination rates.

Expect Russia’s cases to continue to rise due to low vaccination rates. Nevertheless, vaccine uptake is unlikely to increase–Russian mistrust of the government means many are skeptical of domestic vaccines while the Kremlin’s disparagement of Western vaccines has also damaged their credibility. Requiring vaccination is also unlikely due to Putin’s personal aversion to the idea. As a result, Russia is unlikely to emerge from the fog of the pandemic anytime soon, weakening its economy and damaging Putin’s desired image as a confident, capable statesman.

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