Corona pandemic: Russia is taking compulsory leave

Status: 10/30/2021 4:35 p.m.

The corona numbers in Russia have risen to a new high. To curb the spread of the virus, President Putin has sent the country on compulsory leave. Because still only a third of the people are vaccinated.

Due to the increasing number of infections with the corona virus, a week off has started in Russia. President Vladimir Putin had previously declared paid leave for the whole country from October 30 to November 7. Most government organizations and private companies are affected. In the capital Moscow, which is particularly affected by the increasing number of infections, many employees were sent on a pandemic-related forced vacation the day before. Only shops for daily needs such as pharmacies and supermarkets are allowed to open.

The government hopes the non-working period will curb the spread of the virus as most people stay away from offices and public transport. But many people in Russia apparently use the time before the long winter season for a warm vacation. Bookings for package tours to Egypt and Turkey increased.

New infections at a new high

The corona numbers in Russia meanwhile rose to new highs. The authorities last recorded 40,251 new infections within one day – more than ever since the beginning of the pandemic. 1160 other people died with or from the corona virus. The Kremlin cited warnings from epidemiologists who expressed concern about the travel plans of many Russians during vacation days. According to surveys, around a third of the population wants to use the Corona vacation to travel.

The authorities blame the slow progress of the country’s vaccination campaign for the current rise in corona cases. Only about 49 million of the nearly 146 million inhabitants of Russia are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Although vaccinations have been freely available for months, only 32.5 percent of the population are fully immunized, according to government information.

Putin is campaigning for recognition of vaccination certificates

The Russian President accused the partner countries in the G20 group of obstructing the international vaccination campaign. “Because of the decisions of the G20, countries that need it have no access to vaccines,” Putin said in his speech, which was broadcast on video at the G20 summit in Rome. “The G20 countries in particular are not ready for mutual recognition of vaccines.” The reason for this is “protectionism and indecent competitive thinking”.

The Russian president was alluding to the fact that the Sputnik V vaccine developed in his country is still not approved in most western countries. In return, Russia has not yet accepted any certificates for immunization with a western preparation such as BioNTech / Pfizer. In German G20 delegation circles, however, it was pointed out that there is pronounced mistrust of its own government in Russia – and that this apparently also influences the willingness to be vaccinated with Sputnik V.

No EU approval for Sputnik V

Putin called on the G20 health ministers to discuss the mutual recognition of vaccines and vaccination certificates as soon as possible. “We propose to mandate the health ministries of the G20 countries to deal with the issue of mutual recognition of national vaccination certificates in a timely manner,” he said. He also called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to accelerate the testing of new preparations.

The Kremlin has already stressed in the past that it is ready for recognition, but insists on reciprocity. The WHO recently resumed testing for a possible emergency approval of Sputnik V after an interruption. An EU-wide approval of the Russian preparation by the European Medicines Agency EMA has not yet been granted, even after months of testing.

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