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COVID-19: Muscovites Can Return To Their 'Normal' Lives As Measures Eased; Kazakh Women Demand Financial Support

By RFE/RL June 09, 2020

The global death toll from the coronavirus is more than 393,000 with more than 6.7 million infections confirmed, causing mass disruptions as governments continue to try to slow the spread of the new respiratory illness.

Here's a roundup of COVID-19 developments in RFE/RL's broadcast regions.

Russia

Moscow has abandoned its self-isolation regime, electronic-pass system, and scheduled outdoor walks imposed among other measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The Russian capital's mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, said in a video statement that starting on June 9, residents of Moscow will "return to their normal lives."

Beauty salons, hairdressers, veterinary clinics, car-sharing companies, research facilities, noncommercial organizations, employment agencies, theaters, concert halls, and film studios also resumed operations on June 9.

Sobyanin also said that remaining restrictions will be lifted by the end of June, though he stressed that the threat of a second wave of the virus remained.

According to Sobyanin, dental clinics, libraries, rental services, real estate companies, museums, zoos, outdoor restaurants and cafes will resume operations as of June 16.

As of June 23, fitness clubs, swimming pools, and kindergartens will restart operations as well, Sobyanin said.

Russian health authorities said on June 9 that 8,595 new cases of coronavirus had been registered in the country in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to more than 485,000, including 6,142 deaths.

Earlier on June 9, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced that Russians were now allowed to travel abroad to care for ill relatives, for work, education, or medical treatment.

Foreigners can enter Russia to care for relatives or to receive medical treatment, he added.

Kazakhstan

Women from lower-income families are continuing to demand government assistance as coronavirus restrictions in the Central Asian state are eased.

Some 20 women on June 9 resumed their so-called "silent protest" after spending the night in front of the Ministry of Labor and Social Support.

The women were wearing sanitary masks marked with an "X" on them, which they said symbolized "the fact that we are not allowed to speak up."

They also held posters saying: "Cheap mortgages for families in need," "Financial support for each child," "Amnesty for poor families' bank credits," and "We are on a hunger strike."

Rallies and pickets by poor women have been held regularly in Nur-Sultan and other Kazakh cities since February 2019, after five children from a single family died in a fire at night when their parents were working.

The tragedy triggered anger across the country and demonstrations where protesters demanded increased government support for families that have several children.

The protests were held periodically until restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus were introduced in mid-March.

Dauren Babamuratov, an adviser to Nur-Sultan's mayor, and Arman Qurbanov, a representative of the city's health authorities, met with the women on June 9 and attempted to persuade them to leave the site, but the women refused.

Since the protests began last year, the government has announced a special program to support families with more than three children.

Initially, such families were provided with an additional monthly allowance of 21,000 tenges ($50) per child. However, the sum has since been cut twice. From January, the allowances were given only to families officially recognized as living in poverty.

The protesters are demanding a return of the benefits to initial levels, as well as for more benefits to be given to all families with more than three children.

Romania

President Klaus Iohannis says he will call on parliament to extend by one month Romania's current state of alert to fight the coronavirus.

Iohannis ordered a strict lockdown on March 16 to curb the spread of the outbreak, but replaced the state of emergency with a softer "state of alert" mode last month. To take full effect, the extension proposed on June 9 must be approved by parliament, where Iohannis's centrist government lacks a majority. The leftist Social Democrats that lead the opposition have threatened to block the extension.

After a large outbreak in the northeastern city of Suceava in early April, Romania has managed to bring the spread of the virus largely under control. A country of 19.5 million, Romania so far recorded 20,749 coronavirus cases and 1,345 fatalities. Over the past 24 hours it recorded 145 new cases.

In early June, the government eased movement restrictions, and allowed the opening of some schools and outside terraces under strict social-distancing rules.

Iohannis said further restrictions would be lifted on June 15 with shopping malls, kindergartens, after-school facilities, and swimming pools reopening after three months of closure. But restaurants with indoor seating would remain closed.

On June 9, new infections were reported in two schools in eastern Romania prompting concern that the easing of restrictions could lead to a resurgence in infections.

Bulgaria

Neighboring Bulgaria on June 9 also reported an abrupt growth in the number of COVID-19 cases with 83 new infections -- a five-fold increase compared to the previous day, and more than double the average number of infections for the past several days -- after a new outbreak of the disease was recorded in the southern town of Dospat.

Bulgaria now has 2,810 confirmed cases, with 164 deaths.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Kazakh, Romanian, and Bulgarian services, digi24.ro, hotnews.ro, dpa, AP, and Reuters

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/covid- 19-wrap-june-9/30660500.html

Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.



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