MOSCOW (Reuters) – Authorities in Moscow were considering closing bars and nightclubs to halt a second coronavirus wave as the number of new cases surged on Friday to an all-time high, described by the Kremlin as an “anti-record”.
Russia reported 12,126 new infections, pushing the overall total to 1,272,238. The previous record daily rise was 11,656 cases on May 11, when strict lockdown measures were in force across most of the vast country.
Russian authorities have recommended people stay at home this weekend, but currently have no lockdown in place and the Kremlin has said there are no plans to impose one for now.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned on Friday that certain actions and decisions would be required if infections continued increasing, but said these would be determined by officials at the regional level.
“Today is indeed a sad anti-record for Russia and it is obvious that many people do not yet consider it necessary to ensure the safety of their own health,” he told reporters.
Russia’s health minister has said the country hopes to start mass vaccinations in October, with the Sputnik V vaccine already registered and another due to be registered later this month. The speed of Russia’s vaccine rollout has elicited concern from scientists about its safety and efficacy.
SHUTTING BARS, KEEPING RESTAURANTS OPEN
A source at the Moscow Mayor’s office said authorities were looking into closing bars, karaoke bars and nightclubs but keeping restaurants in the capital open, the RBC media outlet reported on Friday.
“We have to at least somehow reduce the number of people in the city, otherwise we may arrive at the same strict restrictions as we had in the spring,” RBC quoted the source as saying.
Authorities in Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s coronavirus outbreak in the spring, have also recommended people over the age of 65 isolate and told businesses that at least a third of their staff must work remotely.
Officials said on Friday that 201 people had died of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, in the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 22,257.
(Reporting by Alexander Marrow, Gleb Stolyarov and Anastasia Teterevleva; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Maria Kiselyova and Mark Heinrich)