The mayor said that the spread of the coronavirus infection has “exacerbated drastically” in the Russian capital.
The mayor of Moscow announced a “non-work” week in the Russian capital. Non-essential workers were told to stay at home as coronavirus cases reached a six-month high.
Sergey Sobyanin’s decision on Saturday marked a change in the tone of Russian officials. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly insisted that Russia is better at coping with the epidemic than most people.
Sobyanin said on his website: “In the past week, the spread of coronavirus infections has deteriorated dramatically.” The city has 6,701 infections every day, which is the highest number since December last year. He added that “thousands” of hospital beds have been reused for coronavirus patients.
“We can’t help but react to this situation,” he said. “In order to stop the growth of infections and save people’s lives, I signed a decree today that stipulates that the period between June 15 and 19 is a non-working day.”
The order affects all employees in Moscow, a city with a population of 12 million, except for basic workers. During this period, non-essential workers do not need to work at home, but their wages will still be retained.
Coupled with weekends and public holidays on June 14th, this means that most Moscow workers will not be able to return to the office until June 20th.
Sobyanin also announced the closure of food courts and playgrounds, while prohibiting restaurants, bars and clubs from serving customers between 23:00 and 06:00.
The mayor also called on employers to move at least 30% of unvaccinated employees to work from home after a week-long shutdown.
Moscow’s deputy mayor Anastasia Rakova said on Saturday that 78% of the 14,000 hospital beds provided by the city for virus patients are currently occupied.
Lakova said: “In Moscow hospitals working for coronavirus patients, there are currently 498 people using ventilators, an increase of nearly 30% from a week ago.”
She added that in the past two months, the number of young patients between the ages of 18 and 35 has increased “significantly”.
Earlier this week, Sobyanin said that Moscow will open several field hospitals to accommodate the influx of patients.
In recent weeks, although domestic vaccines have been widely available to the public, Russia is still working hard to vaccinate its citizens, so cases across the country are increasing.
According to our data world, so far, about 12% of people in the country have been vaccinated, compared with 43% in the European Union and 51% in the United States.
Bernard Smith of Al Jazeera reported in Moscow that the low vaccination rate may stem from widespread Russian suspicion of vaccines.
“60% to 70% of people here say they don’t want to be vaccinated. This seems to stem from a general distrust of what the government is trying to get them to do,” Smith said.
“Despite the fact that the Russian artificial satellite vaccine has gained international recognition and is very effective,” he said, adding that it turns out that the vaccine is almost 92% effective.