Putin shuts down Russia citing COVID pandemic

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered on Wednesday a one-week paid shutdown for workers as coronavirus cases and deaths continue to soar.

The Russian leader has warned coronavirus situation in the country is becoming complicated. Russia has registered over 8 million cases and more than 226,000 Covid fatalities.

Putin has signed a decree declaring paid non-working days from October 30 to November 7, according to the document posted on the Kremlin’s website on Wednesday.

At a meeting with members of the government earlier on Wednesday, Putin approved a corresponding proposal from the cabinet. According to him, it is now of paramount importance to curb the peak of the new epidemic wave.

“I order to declare non-working days with preservation of employees’ salaries from October 30 to November 7, 2021, in order to prevent the further spread of novel coronavirus infections,” the decree says.

Regional heads have the right to declare additional paid non-working days before October 30 and to extend them after November 7, taking into consideration the epidemiological situation and specific features of the spread of COVID-19 in their regions.

The Russian government has been instructed to determine how federal cultural and health institutions will be operating on the non-working days, while the heads of the subjects of the Russian Federation should do the same for corresponding regional institutions. The public authorities along with other bodies and agencies are instructed to determine the numbers of staff ensuring their functioning on the non-working days.

“At the expense of the corresponding funds of the budgetary system of the Russian Federation, the government and top officials of the subjects of the Russian Federation shall provide measures of support for small and medium businesses and socially oriented non-profit organizations operating in the sectors of the Russian economy, which are most affected by the worsening situation caused by the spread of COVID-19 and by the non-working days declared in October-November, 2021,” the decree adds.

The presidential decree comes into force on the day of its official publication.

The coronavirus situation in Russia is getting complicated, vaccination rates in the country remain low, Putin said.

“Really, the situation with coronavirus is getting complicated nationwide, recently vaccination rates increased significantly in many regions,” Putin stated on Wednesday at a meeting with members of the government. He added that unfortunately, the citizens’ vaccination rate remains low. 

According to Putin, the low vaccination rate “predetermines the rapid spread of infection in many ways.”

COVID infection rates in Russia are getting worse mostly because vaccination rates are too low and restrictive measures are often neglected. 

The anti-coronavirus crisis center said on Wednesday the number of coronavirus cases in Russia increased by 34,073 over the past day to 8,094,825 total cases. The number of COVID-19 fatalities in Russia over the past 24 hours has increased by 1,028 compared to 1,015 the day before. In all, 226,353 patients died of the infection. This is a new record high since the beginning of the pandemic.

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