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Putin orders 11pm curfew on nightlife as Russia sees Covid-19 cases hit new highs & workers prepare to be sent home from offices

Putin orders 11pm curfew on nightlife as Russia sees Covid-19 cases hit new highs & workers prepare to be sent home from offices
The Russian government has been told to introduce a ban on bars, clubs, and restaurants opening into the night as part of measures designed to bring down a nationwide spike in coronavirus infections and a record spate of deaths.

In a list of instructions signed by President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, senior officials were ordered to introduce a range of new public health measures. Among them was “the introduction of a ban on the holding of entertainment and events, and the provision of hospitality services in the evening and at night.” According to the directive, venues will have to close between 11pm and 6am each day.

The government now has until November 30 to report back to the Kremlin, after which the provisions will be reviewed on a monthly basis. A number of Russian regions introduced similar provisions at the beginning of the year to deal with a sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, and both Moscow and St. Petersburg again trialed similar measures over the summer, before scrapping the restrictions entirely.

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On Monday, the authorities announced that a total of 37,930 positive tests for the virus had been recorded in the past 24 hours – the highest figure since the start of the pandemic last year. At least 1,069 people are said to have died over the same time period, which is close to the all-time high recorded last week.

Putin has already signed off on a plan to extend national holidays, with a number of regions telling workers to stay home with full pay for at least an extra week. Meanwhile, shops, bars, restaurants, and other non-essential businesses in the capital have been told to shut altogether, with the president stating that the country had to “break the chain of the spread of the virus.”

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Moscow’s mayor, Sergey Sobyanin, told residents, “The situation is in line with the worst-case scenario. In the coming days, we will hit historic peaks in the incidence of Covid-19.”

In practice, “the work of all enterprises and organizations on the territory of the city of Moscow should be suspended, with the exception of organizations that ensure the functioning of the city’s infrastructure, enterprises working on a continuous cycle, and those where activities cannot be terminated,” he added.

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