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St. Petersburg registers more single-day Covid-19 cases than Moscow for first time, just as city’s bars & restaurants reopen

St. Petersburg registers more single-day Covid-19 cases than Moscow for first time, just as city’s bars & restaurants reopen
Russia’s second city has passed a grim landmark in the country’s fight against coronavirus, with St. Petersburg registering more positive tests than the capital for the first time since the pandemic began in the spring of 2020.

On Monday, authorities in the Baltic Sea city reported 3,657 new cases of Covid-19, compared to 3,591 in Moscow. The figure in Europe’s largest city is the lowest since early October, and has declined in recent days as the overall national case count has tailed off. St Petersburg, however, has seen its numbers remain relatively constant.

The news comes on the same day bars and restaurants in the continent’s fourth-largest city reopened, having been ordered to close over the New Year period. According to a city ordinance, they are able to operate once again from 4 January. Originally, the authorities had insisted they close their doors at 7pm, but, after a fightback from local businesses, they will now only have to call last orders at 11pm.

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Alexander Beglov, the city’s governor, maintained that the closure over New Year was necessary to avoid turning the holidays “into a marathon for coronavirus transmission.”

St. Petersburg and Moscow have been the locations worst hit by the pandemic in Russia, together accounting for around 40 per cent of all positive tests recorded in the past week. After the two metropolises, the hardest-hit areas are the region around the capital, the city of Nizhny Novgorod on the Volga river, and the Sverdlovsk Region, which includes the Ural region city of Ekaterinburg.

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