- All workers in contact with the public have been ordered to be vaccinated
- Companies have one month to ensure 60% of staff receive the first hit
- Only 18 million Russians have been vaccinated so far
- Siberian region says to follow suit
MOSCOW, June 16 (Reuters) – Moscow city authorities have ordered all workers in public roles to be vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the strongest measures taken globally to force employees to get vaccinated.
A decree on Wednesday listed a range of jobs – from hairdressers, retailers and taxi drivers to bank tellers, teachers and artists – for which vaccinations will now be mandatory. Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova said the list covers more than 2 million workers in the Russian capital.
Companies had a month to ensure that at least 60% of staff had received the first doses, or face fines or temporary shutdown.
At least one provincial region, the Kuzbass in Siberia, issued a similar decree, which stipulated that “certain categories of citizens” would be required to be vaccinated, and that state agencies as well as companies were to vaccinate 60% of the staff. by mid-July.
Russia has been offering vaccines to the public since last year, but has so far seen low adoption and is now experiencing another major wave of infections, with the capital hardest hit.
“More than 12,000 people are hospitalized with varying degrees of severity. In terms of morbidity, we are already at the peak of last year,” Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote on his personal blog on Wednesday.
Rakova, the deputy mayor, said there had been a more than 70% increase in hospital admissions over the past week and that Moscow could run out of beds to treat coronavirus patients in 2-3 weeks, according to the Interfax news agency.
Countries around the world are struggling to tackle the reluctance to vaccinate. But most did not require vaccines, except in limited cases.
The Kremlin has expressed dismay at the slow pace of vaccinations in Russia. President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that only 18 million of Russia’s 144 million people had been vaccinated. Moscow exported doses of its Sputnik V vaccine, although most Russians refused to be vaccinated.
The TASS news agency quoted Moscow city official Yevgeny Danchikov as saying that companies that fail to comply with the obligation to vaccinate their staff could face fines of up to 1 million rubles ( $ 14,000) in the event of a repeat offense. Businesses could also be closed for up to 90 days.
Moscow accounted for 5,782 of the 13,397 new cases of COVID-19 in Russia on Wednesday. There have been 75 deaths in the capital from coronavirus-related causes in the past 24 hours.
Sobyanin said on Saturday that Moscow was reallocating thousands of hospital beds to an influx of COVID-19 patients and told residents not to work this week to help curb the spread.
Several regions tightened restrictions on coronaviruses on Tuesday as authorities reported the highest number of one-day cases in Russia since February. Over the weekend, St. Petersburg, which hosts matches of the Euro 2020 soccer final, and Moscow said they were imposing new restrictions. Read more
($ 1 = 71.8900 rubles)
Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Maria Kiselyova; Written by Alexander Marrow
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