Mayor says coronavirus situation in Moscow 'dramatic'
Moscow chief sanitary officer orders vaccination of 60% of service industry workers, says breach of vaccination rules to be penalized
Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said on Wednesday the coronavirus situation in the Russian capital is developing "dramatically."
Over 12,000 people are being treated in Moscow hospitals, and the COVID-19 incidence rate mounted to last year's peak, Sobyanin said in an official statement.
In connection with "the extremely serious epidemiological situation," the capital's chief sanitary officer ruled a mandatory vaccination of workers in the service sector, the mayor added.
At least 60% of service industry employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19, Sobyanin said.
*Meanwhile, non-compliance with the vaccination requirements will be penalized.
*The penalty for breaching the requirement to vaccinate employees for individual entrepreneurs will be up to 50,000 rubles ($700), and up to 300,000 rubles ($4,200) for organizations.
*Repeated violations may result in sanctions of up to 1 million rubles (about $14,000) or suspension of the work for up to 90 days."
The Moscow Oblast, a region, closely connected to the capital, announced a mandatory vaccination for the workers of the service and entertainment industries as well.
Moscow and Moscow Oblast authorities also introduced a control mechanism and the employers will have to report the results of the vaccination campaign.
The total number of new coronavirus cases in Russia has slightly decreased over the last 24 hours as 13,397 people tested positive for COVID-19, taking the tally to 5.24 million.
Although fewer infections were registered, the active cases grew 0.26% to 293,914, Russia's coronavirus emergency task force said in a daily report.
Since Tuesday, recoveries went up by 10,256 to 4.82 million while 396 people died, raising the death toll to 127,576.
Moscow remains the worst-hit region, accounting for almost 50% of all active cases -- 129,790 are being treated of COVID-19 in the capital.
On Saturday, Sobyanin announced a lockdown until June 19 to stem the spread of the virus. During this period, catering and entertainment venues are not allowed to serve visitors from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., and parks are open only for walks.
In Moscow Oblast, Governor Andrey Vorobyov obliged employers and organizations to ban employees or customers from entering the premises without a protective mask. The rule does not apply to those who have been vaccinated.
Although Russia was the first country in the world to register a coronavirus vaccine -- Sputnik V -- it lags behind in the rate of vaccinated people, with slightly over 10% of the population having gotten a shot.
Since December 2019, the pandemic has claimed over 3.82 million lives in 192 countries and regions, with more than 176.72 million cases reported worldwide, according to the US-based Johns Hopkins University.
The US, India and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries.