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12 Nov, 2021 16:35

Russia set to implement some of world’s toughest Covid-19 restrictions

Russia set to implement some of world’s toughest Covid-19 restrictions

Russia could be set to introduce some of the toughest Covid restrictions in the world, including a sweeping QR-code mandate for adults, if a draft law is passed by the country’s parliament.

The proposed law would require QR-code Covid passes to enter stores, cultural venues and cafes until June 1, 2022 – but would not come into effect until February.

“Realizing that our citizens need to be given the necessary time to get vaccinated and draw up the necessary documents, for those who do not have them, the bill establishes a transitional period. The full use of certificates would enter into force on February 1, 2022,” Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said on Friday.

Until then, unvaccinated citizens would have an alternative way to enter venues by showing a negative PCR test, but only having severe medical conditions would enable one to bypass the mandate starting from February.

The QR-code pass would be required for many public places as well as public transportation, but not for grocery stores, shops that sell necessities, and pharmacies.

The passes will also be required for travel by rail and for long-distance and international flights. Until the law takes effect, rail operators and air carriers can require proof of a negative PCR test.

According to Golikova, the QR passes will certify not only vaccination against the coronavirus, but also confirmation of recovery (and therefore natural immunity), or a medical exemption. She said the document would be secure and hack-proof.

Regional governments will have the final say on whether to require QR-code passes at all in their jurisdictions, and at which venues, aside from those specified above.

As of Friday, there have been 8,992,595 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Russia since the start of the pandemic, and more than 247,000 deaths linked to the disease.

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