Public/Global Health

Russia backing away from COVID-19 restrictions that sparked outrage

Russian authorities have backed away from imposing COVID-19 restrictions that have sparked outrage in a country that has a low vaccination rate, The Associated Press reported

Duma State speaker Vyacheslav Volodin confirmed on Monday the withdrawal of the proposed bill setting out the restrictions, which was excepted go through its first reading on Thursday. 

If passed, the bill would have restricted access to domestic and international flights and trains for residents who are fully vaccinated, recently recovered from the virus and who are medically exempt from vaccination. 

Speaker Volodin said the bill was withdrawn from the parliament’s agenda after “a joint decision by the State Duma and the government.”

“We need to be balanced when working out these decisions so that the opinion of the people is taken into account,” Volodin said.

This comes as residents in different regions of the country have started staging protests against the proposed restrictions and have launched online petitions against them, the AP reported. 

Russia has one of the lowest vaccination rates with less than 50 percent of residents being fully vaccinated, even though the country was one of the first to approve the roll-out of a vaccine last year.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, the head of Russia’s state coronavirus task force, said on Monday that residents who have received foreign vaccines or have gotten the government-made Sputnik V will be issued vaccine certificates. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Russia’s coronavirus task force has reported more than 10 million confirmed COVID cases and 289,483 COVID-related deaths, the AP noted.

Another proposed bill would allow regional authorities to restrict from certain public places people who can’t provide proof of vaccination, that they have recovered from the virus or that they have a medical exemption from being vaccinated. The AP reported that this bill is expected to pass its first reading later this week.


Tags Russia vaccine passports Vyacheslav Volodin

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