MOSCOW (Reuters) – Authorities in Moscow said a QR-code system would be introduced at late-night entertainment venues from Oct. 19 in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus as deaths in Russia hit a record daily high on Thursday.
Russia reported 286 new deaths, the highest since the pandemic began, pushing the national death toll to 23,491. It registered an additional 13,754 coronavirus infections, with 3,942 of those in Moscow.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said employees and customers at nightclubs and bars open between midnight and 6 a.m. would have to register with their telephone number to enter and scan a QR-code. Late-night entertainment venues were among the establishments closed during a lockdown in the spring.
“Of course, registering telephone numbers alone will not prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” Sobyanin wrote on his website. Being able to notify people at risk of infection would allow the authorities to identify new cases and quickly contact other people who could also have been infected, he explained.
“We have every reason to close them (bars and nightclubs)again. However, we would not want to take this step,” he said.
Head of the consumer safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova on Thursday blamed people’s non-compliance with restrictive health measures for the rise in cases, the RIA news agency reported. She urged Russians to wear masks in public.
Since the start of the pandemic, Russia has recorded 1,354,163 infections, the world’s fourth largest caseload, with 347,946 in Moscow, the epicentre of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak.
The city of nearly 13 million people has opened two temporary hospitals, ordered businesses to have at least 30% of staff working remotely and introduced online learning for secondary school students.
(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarovv and Alexander Marrow; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Alexander Marrow; Editing by Alison Williams and Giles Elgood)