Russia has introduced tough new restrictions including regional lockdowns and compulsory vaccinations in a belated response to a third coronavirus wave sweeping the country. President Vladimir Putin has rowed back from his triumphalist claims about Russia’s “victory” over the pandemic and admitted that the situation had “taken a turn for the worse” last week as coronavirus cases rocketed.
Russia recorded 20,538 coronavirus cases on Sunday, among its highest numbers since January and more than double the average just a month earlier. Moscow recorded 114 coronavirus deaths on Sunday, a record during the pandemic.
Despite the vaccine being free and open to all since December, only 16.7m of Russia’s 145m population, or about 13 percent, have had two shots in a country where mistrust of the state and its medical system is high.
Moscow has responded by requiring most people aged 18 to 60 to be vaccinated and forcing anyone who wants to visit a restaurant from next week to show a QR code proving they have had the vaccine, been sick with Covid-19 in the past six months, or had a negative PCR result in the past three days.