MOSCOW (Reuters) – Moscow on Friday abolished a widely-flouted requirement for people to wear gloves in public places and shops as daily coronavirus cases in the Russian capital stayed below 4,000, down from over 7,000 earlier this month.
Moscow reported 3,481 new infections on Friday and 76 deaths, even as the number of daily nationwide cases, at 23,564, remained close to levels recorded at the start of the month with 794 nationwide deaths in the last 24 hours.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said the number of newly detected COVID-19 cases in Moscow was, however, 2.2 times lower than during the peak of a wave of infections in the second half of June, which authorities blamed on the contagious Delta variant and the slow rate of vaccinations.
The authorities in Moscow have since waged what they said was a successful campaign to get more people vaccinated and Sobyanin said the improving situation meant that a requirement to wear gloves in shops, on public transport and in other public places could now be dropped.
In practice, the requirement was widely flouted by many Muscovites though the authorities went through phases of trying to strictly enforce it and of fining people for ignoring it.
“The use of masks to protect the respiratory system still remains mandatory,” Sobyanin said in a blog post announcing the change, in which he also urged people to get vaccinated.
(Reporting by Alexander Marrow and Gleb Stolyarov; Editing by Andrew Osborn)