Covid-19: in the face of the epidemic outbreak in Russia, Vladimir Putin puts the country to sleep for a week

the essential Sign of the gravity of the situation, the country, which is already the most bereaved in Europe, recorded Wednesday a new record of daily deaths due to the virus, with 1028 dead, as well as 34073 contaminations, according to government figures.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered this Wednesday 20 October a big week off in early November in Russia and implored the many recalcitrant to be vaccinated for trying to contain a Covid outbreak – 19 out of control.

Sign of the gravity of the situation, the country, which is already the most bereaved in Europe, recorded on Wednesday a new record of daily deaths due to the virus, with 1028 dead, as well that 34073 contaminations, according to government figures.

Russia has been facing an epidemic outbreak since June that the authorities have not been able to control, under the combined action of the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus, a sluggish vaccination and weak health restrictions.

“Be responsible”

In an attempt to put a stop to the epidemic, the Russian president therefore ordered to declare the period from 25 October to November 7 as unemployed, a decision announced at the end of a government meeting devoted to Covid – 000. The Russian president also gave the regions the possibility to start earlier or to extend the week of leave if the epidemic situation warrants it. He finally urged the very recalcitrant Russians to get vaccinated.

“Please be responsible,” he said, “there are only two ways to get out of this (epidemic) time: either by getting sick or by getting vaccinated.” He called Russia’s low vaccination rate “dangerous”.

In the past, the Russian president has repeatedly decreed periods of paid vacation in an attempt to curb the epidemic. Announced for a short period, these nonworking periods have sometimes been extended to long weeks. Vladimir Putin has always preferred this measure, intended to limit the movement of people and therefore of the virus, rather than confine the population, an unpopular restriction which also risks slowing down the fragile economic recovery.

Nevertheless, the Kremlin, which until then has mainly left the regions to take their own health measures, seems to resolve to act in the face of the deterioration of the situation.

Russia has so far recorded nearly 230 dead of Covid – 000, according to the government report which is largely underestimated, the national statistics agency Rosstat having, for its part, counted more of 400 000 deaths at the end of August.

Trolling vaccination

Faced with this observation, the mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanine, announced Tuesday “urgent measures” to protect the most vulnerable categories, in particular the elderly, while the number of serious cases is increasing “day by day”. The Moscow authorities have thus ordered the compulsory vaccination of 80% of public service employees, against 40% currently, by January 1 2022, containment of all over 60 years not vaccinated from 20 October to 25 February and the teleworking of “at least 30%” of company staff.

For many experts, the battle against the virus is being played out in the field of vaccination, where Russia, yet one of the first countries to have developed a serum against Covid – 19, is lagging behind. Indeed, less than a third of some 80 millions of Russians are fully vaccinated, according to the specialized site Gogov which establishes a daily report, the majority of the population remaining skeptical vis-à-vis – vis-à-vis locally developed vaccines. According to independent polls, more than half of Russians do not plan to be vaccinated.

Faced with this situation, the Kremlin seems to be losing patience. Its spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, on Tuesday called on the Russians to be “more responsible” instead of “blaming the state for everything”. He nevertheless admitted that the authorities had not done enough to explain to the Russians that “vaccination has no alternative”.

Faced with vaccine reluctance despite the outbreak of the epidemic, some Russian regions have reintroduced the obligation to present a health pass to access public places. Thus, Saint Petersburg, the second city of the country, announced Monday the establishment of such a certificate from November 1 to access sporting or cultural events bringing together more than 40 people, and from December 1 to restaurants and shops.

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