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Love in the time of Covid-19: Major Russian city asks wedding guests to show negative tests or proof of vaccination as cases rise

Love in the time of Covid-19: Major Russian city asks wedding guests to show negative tests or proof of vaccination as cases rise
Soon-to-be-married couples in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia's fifth-largest city, will have to provide a negative Covid-19 test or proof of vaccination for themselves and all of their guests if they wish to have a wedding ceremony.

That’s according to new rules published by the administration of the region, home to over three million people, which restrict all indoor weddings to a maximum of 20 Covid-free or fully vaccinated people.

The new rules, recently published online, require that all participants must provide original documents of either a vaccination certificate, a negative PCR test, or a positive antibody test. All guests must also wear a mask.

Also on rt.com By shutting out travelers immunized with Sputnik V, the EU is helping undermine Russia’s vaccine drive by feeding domestic doubts

These restrictions will be slightly loosened for open-air weddings, which may be attended by 50 people.

In recent weeks, Covid-19 has been on the rise within Russia, including within the Nizhny Novgorod Region. According to official numbers, on June 21 the district recorded 268 cases, almost doubling the figure from a month ago.

Last week, local authorities revealed that they would be restricting access to public events from June 18, demanding from anyone wanting to get in the presentation of a coronavirus test, a certificate of vaccination, or a certificate of antibodies. This includes cinemas, theaters, and sporting events, as well as other outdoor activities.

Since the start of the entire Covid-19 pandemic, the Nizhny Novgorod Region has recorded 121,986 cases, the fourth highest in the country behind Moscow City, Saint Petersburg, and the Moscow Region. The eponymous regional capital is less than 500 kilometers east of Moscow and has a population of over one million.

In the last fortnight, various measures have been put in place by Russian regional authorities, all of which have the autonomy to make their own decisions. In Moscow, public events with over a thousand people have been canceled, while restaurants and evening entertainment have been forced to shut down nightly at 11pm.

Despite the wide availability of shots, vaccine uptake has remained low in Russia. Since January 18, immunization has been free to all comers, with many cities offering jabs not only in clinics but also in shopping centers and parks.

People in Russia have the option of receiving three different domestically-made jabs: Sputnik V, EpiVacCorona, and CoviVac. The most well-known, Sputnik V, is registered in 67 countries around the world. Soon, a fourth option – the single-dose Sputnik light – will become available.

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