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Russia recoils from unpopular COVID-19 restrictions

 | Breaking News Updates

Russia recoils from unpopular COVID-19 restrictions

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the Russian On Friday, the government chose to delay passing unpopular legislation restricting access to public places for unvaccinated people, despite a wave of infections and warnings from senior officials about the spread of the omicron variant.

The country reported 23,820 new infections, a 12% increase from the previous day, and 739 deaths. Moscow officials have also reported 729 confirmed cases of omicron variants in the capital since December 20, and Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said 783 cases have been confirmed across Russia.

Golikova said the legislation was postponed due to “high uncertainty” as the bill was originally prepared in response to the delta variant, but “new challenges” have arisen.

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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova during a briefing on amendments to a QR-code bill at the Russian Government House.
(Dmitry AstakhovTASS via Getty Images)

The bill required Russians wishing to access certain public places to have a QR code confirming vaccination, their recent recovery from COVID-19, or a medical exemption from vaccination.

The initiative, along with another bill proposing a similar system for domestic and international planes and trains, has met strong resistance amid a population largely skeptical of vaccines. The transport bill was withdrawn from parliament last month, but the public places bill passed first reading.

Golikova said the bill will be amended to allow Russians with negative tests to obtain QR codes at short notice.

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said the bill would be withdrawn from parliament while the government made changes.

QR code requirements are already in place in some parts of Russia and vary from region to region. They are mainly used for travel and to access public spaces such as museums and theaters.

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called the viral situation in the country “very difficult” and urged the government to prepare.

Golikova has vowed to present new response measures by the end of the week.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Friday that omicron was responsible for nearly half of all new infections in the capital, while daily cases are expected to rise to 7,000 on Saturday.

The variant spreads even more easily than other strains of coronavirus and has already become dominant in many countries. It also more easily infects people who have been vaccinated or who have already been infected with previous versions of the virus. However, early studies show that omicron is less likely to cause serious illness than the previous delta variant.

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Russia recoils from unpopular COVID-19 restrictions

 | Breaking News Updates

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova addresses a meeting in the Russian State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, to discuss a controversial bill on the use of vaccination QR codes in public transport and in public places.
(Russian State DumaTASS via Getty Images)

The Russian State Coronavirus Task Force has recorded more than 10.7 million confirmed infections and 319,911 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Russia’s national statistics agency, which uses broader counting criteria, estimates the death toll to be much higher, saying the total number of virus-related deaths between April 2020 and October 2021 was over 625,000 .

Russia only had one nationwide lockdown, in 2020, and in October of that year many Russians were ordered out of work for a week amid an increase in infections. and deaths. However, authorities have generally resisted shutting down businesses or imposing strict restrictions.

Russia recoils from unpopular COVID-19 restrictions

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