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20 Oct, 2021 12:07

Russia announces fresh national ‘non-working week’ as country reports record number of deaths from Covid-19 since pandemic began

Russia announces fresh national ‘non-working week’ as country reports record number of deaths from Covid-19 since pandemic began

Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed plans to give workers across the country a week off, as the government proposes an 11pm curfew on hospitality in a bid to halt a sharp spike in the number of deaths from coronavirus.

At a meeting of government officials on Wednesday, Putin gave the go-ahead for preparations to extend a two-day planned national holiday and keep many employees at home, with pay, for a full week.

Under the plans, proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, offices will be closed between October 30 and November 7.

At the same time, Golikova suggested that bosses transfer all unvaccinated employees older than 60 to a remote-working arrangement for the next month, and offer staff two separate days on which to go and get vaccinated against Covid-19. 

Also on rt.com 19 months into pandemic, Russia’s daily official Covid-19 death toll surpasses 1,000 for first time since deadly virus emerged

She also said that bars, restaurants, cafes and clubs should be closed between 11pm and 6am each day. Regional governors and the heads of local governments will decide on which measures to implement.

According to Putin, it is now vital that the country “breaks the chain of the spread of the virus… Out main task now is to protect the lives of citizens and, as far as possible, minimize the spread of Covid-19 infections.”

As the strategy unfolds, he argued, “there are only two options at this point in time – you can get sick or you can get vaccinated. But it’s better to be vaccinated. Why would you wait for the disease and its consequences?”

Earlier on Wednesday, Russian officials announced that the country had recorded the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic last year. “Over the past 24 hours, 1,028 people have died,” authorities said in a statement. The largest number of fatalities were reported in the country’s two largest cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Also on rt.com Moscow’s main Covid-19 hospital rapidly filling up with unvaccinated patients as autumn weather contributes to boost in infections

The news follows a rapid increase in the number of positive tests for the virus, with 34,073 people confirmed to have been infected over the same period.

Health officials reiterated that getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is the best way to protect against serious complications, with less than 0.03% of critically ill patients having been immunized. However, currently only around 46 million Russians have been fully vaccinated, making up less than one in three of the population.