Russian regions tighten COVID-19 curbs, step up hospital capacity

Boys look at a taped playground in a park as part of a new effort to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Moscow, Russia, June 14, 2021. REUTERS / Maxim Shemetov

Several Russian regions tightened coronavirus restrictions Tuesday, saying they would increase hospital capacity for an influx of patients after a steep spike in COVID-19 cases.

Authorities reported more than 14,700 infections on Sunday, the highest daily number since February. Over the weekend, St. Petersburg, which will host the 2020 European Football Championship matches, and Moscow announced that they were placing new curbs. Continue reading

The local government in the Far Eastern Primorye region announced on Tuesday that two hospitals would open in the cities of Ussuriysk and Vladivostok in the coming days and that they had created hundreds of new beds to treat COVID-19 patients since April.

“We are now seeing a pattern similar to last year’s spring wave. First there was an increase in Europe, a few weeks later in central Russia and 2-3 weeks later in the major cities of Primorye,” said the local health minister.

The Buryatia region of eastern Siberia said it needed more intensive care beds after a surge in cases this month.

Public areas such as parks, squares and swimming pools will be closed until July 1, the authorities in Buryatia said. Sports in gyms and indoor and outdoor facilities have been suspended.

In the oil-producing Siberian region of Ugra, authorities have banned large public events with more than 20 people. Workers returning to the area on or after June 20 would first need to test negative for COVID-19 or provide evidence that they have been vaccinated.

In the Arctic Murmansk region, restaurants have been banned from working overnight and a third of government employees have been ordered to work remotely, the RIA reported.

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