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Moscow Sees Covid Cases Surge Again

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For a few weeks over summer, life in Moscow returned to near-normal: city parks filled up; shops and museums, even the Bolshoi Theatre, re-opened.

Floors and pavements were daubed with social distancing marks and there were regular loudspeaker announcements recommending face masks. But the vast majority of Muscovites ignored them. Even the Kremlin spokesman admitted he’d been to the cinema on Sunday and no-one had bothered with any face covering.

So the number of Covid-19 cases is surging again. Moscow is the hotspot, with 2,308 reported cases over the past 24 hours – the most since late May. Russia as a whole recorded 8,481 new cases.

President Putin this week called the coronavirus an invisible but “dangerous” enemy, but all the talk for now is of how well Russia’s healthcare system is primed to cope – and a stress on enforcing those protective measures that already exist.

Masked commuters on the Moscow underground on 30 September 2020
Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty Images
Anxious to shield the economy, officials are shying away from a return to lockdown. Still, Moscow’s mayor has asked thousands of city firms to help staff work remotely again and recommended that the elderly and sick stay indoors.

He’s also doubled the October school break from one to two weeks, asking parents to keep their children home as much as possible. “Let’s use this holiday to slow the spread of the infection and protect our health,” Sergei Sobyanin wrote on his blog.

But according to the Tour Operators’ Association, bookings to Russia’s south coast, Crimea and Turkey for that extended holiday have soared.

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