Russia delayed COVID-19 legislation Friday that would restrict unvaccinated individuals' access to public places, The Associated Press reports.

The bill would require the possession of QR codes confirming vaccination, recent COVID-19 recovery or medical exemptions in order to access some public places.

The decision comes amid a surge in omicron cases, with Russia reporting 23,820 new cases Friday along with 739 additional deaths.


The legislation was delayed because of “uncertainty” in the face of the “new challenges” brought by the omicron variant, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said, according to the AP.

The bill was written before the rise of the omicron variant, as countries were grappling with the delta variant of the coronavirus.

Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinUS raises concerns about Russian troop movements to Belarus Putin tests a model for invading Ukraine, outwitting Biden's diplomats White House says Russia could launch attack in Ukraine 'at any point' MORE has encouraged the government to take steps in response to the virus, calling the situation “very difficult.”

The bill will now be updated to add temporary QR codes for those who have recently tested negative for the virus, the Russian official said. Golikova added that new COVID-19 measures will be proposed by the end of the week.

QR code requirements are already in use in some areas of Russia, but the AP noted that the bill — as well as another that proposed the same QR code requirement for public transportation services — received broad pushback from the Russian public.

The public transportation bill has been withdrawn from Parliament.

Russia’s state coronavirus task force has registered 10.7 million coronavirus infections and 319,911 deaths since 2020, while the country’s state statistics agency has found a death toll of over 625,000.

Russian public health agency Rospotrebnadzor said Tuesday that Russia’s infection numbers are likely to continue growing, reaching up to six-figure infection rates daily.

Russia has largely resisted strong restrictive measures against the virus. The country imposed a single nationwide lockdown in 2020.