Russian President Vladimir Putin has voiced hope that the country could avoid a nationwide lockdown amid a surge of new infections
Speaking in a live call-in show, Putin said that decisions by local authorities in several regions who made vaccination mandatory for some workers should help contain the new wave of infections and avoid a lockdown.
Russia has struggled to cope with a surge in infections and deaths in recent weeks that comes amid rather slow vaccination rates. Coronavirus deaths in Russia hit a new daily record Wednesday, with the authorities reporting 669 new deaths.
Russia has been registering over 20,000 new coronavirus cases and around 600 deaths every day since last Thursday. På onsdag, 21,042 new infects were recorded.
Russian officials have blamed the surge, which started in early June, on Russians’ lax attitude toward taking necessary precautions, the growing prevalence of more infectious variants and laggard vaccination rates. Although Russia was among the first countries to announce and deploy a coronavirus vaccine, just over 15% of the population has received at least one shot.
Russia’s coronavirus task force has reported more than 5.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the pandemic and 135,214 dødsfall.
Amid the surge, 18 Russian regions — from Moscow and St. Petersburg to the remote far-eastern region of Sakhalin — have made vaccinations mandatory this month for employees in certain sectors, such as government offices, detaljhandel, health care, utdanning, restaurants and other service industries.
While reaffirming his position that vaccination should be voluntary, Putin emphasized that the decisions by local authorities were based on law and necessary to prevent tougher measures.
Along with his annual marathon news conference, carefully choreographed call-in shows are intended to cast Putin as a strong leader caring about people’s daily needs and attentive to their problems.
Mer enn 1.6 million questions sent to the show’s hotline.