Putin orders workers home for one week as COVID-19 deaths soar
Russian President Vladimir Putin is ordering workers to stay home for one week as the country continues to break daily records for COVID-19 infections and deaths.
“Our task today is to protect life and health of our citizens and minimize the consequences of the dangerous infection,” Putin said in a video call with officials Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.
“To achieve that, it’s necessary to first of all slow the pace of contagion and mobilize additional reserves of the health care system, which is currently working under a high strain,” he added.
Putin’s Cabinet has proposed people stop working on Oct. 30 and stay home through the end of the following week in order to slow the spread of the virus. Areas in Russia that are currently hit the hardest by the virus could see a two-week halt in work.
This is one of the first national measures the country has taken in months. The Russian government has largely stayed out of issuing restrictive orders during this surge of the pandemic, leaving it up to local regions to implement coronavirus restrictions.
The country’s coronavirus task force reported Wednesday the highest 24-hour death toll in the country, with 1,028 coronavirus deaths, according to the AP.
“I can’t understand what’s going on,” Putin said. “We have a reliable and efficient vaccine. The vaccine really reduces the risks of illness, grave complications and death.”
Putin pushed Wednesday for Russian citizens to get the vaccine, as only 32 percent of the country is fully vaccinated despite Russia approving the first coronavirus vaccine in the world in August 2020.
“There are only two ways to get over this period — to get sick or to receive a vaccine,” Putin said. “It’s better to get the vaccine, why wait for the illness and its grave consequences? Please be responsible and take the necessary measures to protect yourself, your health and your close ones.”