Putin Says Coronavirus Situation In Some Regions 'Aggravated,' Authorities Rush To Cope
By RFE/RL June 21, 2021
Russian officials, grappling to contain a deadly new third wave of coronavirus infections, have reopened a mobile hospital in Moscow as President Vladimir Putin acknowledged the situation in some regions has worsened.
Moscow region Health Minister Svetlana Strigunkova said on June 21 that the mobile COVID-19 hospital that was set up in Patriot Park near Moscow and then shut down in mid-February has resumed operations with 1,420 beds available to treat COVID cases.
The announcement came after the country reported 17,378 new COVID-19 cases on June 21 with 440 deaths linked to the coronavirus in the previous 24 hours.
"Unfortunately, the coronavirus threat is not over yet. In some regions the situation has been aggravated, as you know," Putin said on June 21 at a meeting with the country's lawmakers.
Moscow city authorities said on June 21 that 7,584 new coronavirus cases had been registered in the last 24 hours while that figure was 8,305 a day earlier.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said last week that coronavirus cases were on rise in the Russian capital and announced that vaccinations against COVID-19 will be compulsory for 60 percent of employees in the services sector.
In the country's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, which is hosting several matches in the European soccer championships, a video posted on Telegram on June 20 by the online publication Baza showed patients lying on mattresses laid out on the floor or on rolling beds in corridors at the hospital No. 15 because of a lack of space for patients in the facility.
City authorities said over the weekend that 65 percent of city employees must be vaccinated by mid-August. They also announced new restrictions in the city, including a ban on attending aquaparks and amusement parks. People may attend events with more than 75 participants only if they have a negative PCR-test, while overall gatherings are capped at 500 people.
An exception has been made for fan zones for the Euro 2020 tournament, though capacity has also been reduced to 3,000 from a previous limit of 5,000. The city had already halted the sale of food in the zones and all participants must wear masks.
The governor of the northwestern region of Pskov, Maksim Vedernikov, on June 21 called the COVID-19 situation there "critical." with hospitals "overcrowded."
"At this point, 97 patients, including a 10-year-old child, are in very serious condition," Vedernikov said.
Russia's federal coronavirus taskforce team said on June 21 that the total number of cases since the pandemic started in March last year was 5,334,204, including 129,801 deaths. Many critics, however, have accused authorities of suppressing the number of deaths from the pandemic.
With reporting by North.Realities, RFE/RL's Russian Service, TASS, and Interfax
Copyright (c) 2021. 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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