Moscow orders mandatory vaccinations for a “dramatic” increase in cases


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The mayor of Moscow on Wednesday ordered mandatory vaccinations for residents of the Russian capital working in the service industry, citing a “dramatic” increase in coronavirus infections.

Sergei Sobyanin’s announcement – one of the first mandatory vaccination orders for a major world city – was the full admission of a senior Russian official whose authorities are struggling to control the pandemic.

Russia lifted most of the restrictions last year and the country has moved forward with major face-to-face events, such as a recent economic forum in St. Petersburg and Euro 2020 hosting tasks.

President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly noted that Russia is moving beyond the coronavirus and has claimed that his country, which has the sixth highest number of cases worldwide, has managed the global outbreak better than most others. .

“We just have to do everything we can to make mass vaccines in the shortest possible time and stop this terrible disease, stop the death of thousands of people,” Sobyanin wrote in a statement on his website.

Moscow health authorities have reported in recent weeks a steady increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19, reflecting a trend across Russia.

This increase in cases comes as authorities struggle to encourage Russians to get vaccinated, even though the country launched a massive campaign of free jabs in December.

Sobyanin, the city of about 12 million of which is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Russia, said only 1.8 million residents had been inoculated.

“The coronavirus situation continues to develop drastically,” Sobyanin said, as authorities announced 5,782 new infections in the capital and 75 deaths.

“In connection with the extremely difficult epidemiological situation, the chief medical officer of the Moscow City State has today adopted a decree on compulsory vaccination of workers in the service sector,” he said.

Vaccination hesitation

About 60 percent of everything Moscow workers were ordered to be fully vaccinated on August 15, including taxi drivers, cultural venue staff and restaurant workers.

Sobyanin’s directive, which has taken a combative stance against the pandemic compared to other officials, came just weeks after Putin said the Kremlin would not order mandatory taps.

The Russian leader in May described any launch of non-optional vaccines as “impractical and impossible to introduce”, and said citizens themselves should understand that there was a “fatal” danger when it came to withdrawing. -se.

This line was repeated on Wednesday by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said there was “no discussion” within the Russian leadership to announce mandatory vaccinations across the country.

But in recent months, Putin has repeatedly turned to state television channels to put pressure on Russians about the urgency of getting vaccinated.

Recent polls show that many Russians are unlikely to receive the puncture voluntarily, with a recent independent poll suggesting 60% do not intend to be vaccinated.

In an effort to increase participation in public places offering vaccines, Sobyanin announced last week that all Muscovites who received the first coronavirus blow would automatically enter the lottery to win a car.

Despite introducing a strict blockade after the pandemic swept Russia last spring, authorities lifted most restrictions in mid-summer in an effort to protect the troubled economy.

Russia began its mass vaccination campaign in December, with its own-produced vaccine Sputnik V – pronounced by Putin as the best in the world.

Since then, Russia has approved three more vaccines for public use: EpiVacCorona, CoviVac and Sputnik Light single-dose.

Sputnik V has been approved in 67 countries, including ex-Soviet nations such as Belarus and Armenia, allies such as Venezuela and Iran, but also in Argentina, Brazil, India and Pakistan.

Russia is seeing an increase in virus cases amid the slow pace of the vaccine

© 2021 AFP

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