Staunton, September 3 – The Russian health ministry announced today that it will continue the third phase of testing the coronavirus vaccine well into 2022, even though it has already announced plans to inoculate most of the population beginning this week (regnum.ru/news/3053055.html).
This announcement underscores the difficulties Moscow is having in attracting enough volunteers for a genuine third phase testing of the vaccine as well as the reluctance of many Russians to get it with people offering various excuses as to why they won’t be vaccinated (interfax.ru/russia/724425).
The pandemic continued to ebb and flow across Russia with both re-openings and new re-closings occurring (regnum.ru/news/society/3051649.htmlt.me/stopcoronavirusrussia/1843).
The reopening of schools has sparked concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in them. The Academy of Sciences and the Health Ministry have issued special guidance on how schools are to minimize these risks (niigd.ru/pdf/ZOS_21.07.2020.pdf), including by avoiding testing children in the streets and cutting back on classes requiring greater contacts (regnum.ru/news/3052993.html and regnum.ru/news/3052842.html
Among the most important changes in restrictions: Moscow has dropped limits on foreign travel to visit relatives (regnum.ru/news/3052892.html), and flights to the UAE, Egypt and the Maldives will resume (stoletie.ru/lenta/rossija_vozobnovila_aviasoobshhenije_jeshho_s_trema_stranami_364.htm).
On the economic front, Russians cut spending during the first six months of this year, the first time that has happened since 2006 (iz.ru/1055271/ekaterina-vinogradova/korona-rubl-berezhet-rossiiane-rekordno-sokratili-raskhody-za-polgoda). This decline in consumer spending may mean that one-fifth of all Russian shopping centers will close before the end of this year (profile.ru/economy/torg-zdes-umesten-pandemiya-koronavirusa-postavila-rossijskie-tc-na-gran-vyzhivaniya-396704/).
Banks say that no fewer than ten to 20 percent of Russian firms face bankruptcy and many will not be able to pay the taxes they owe (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/ne-menee-10-20percent-kompaniy-zhdut-bankrotstva-pravitelstvo-predupredili-o-nesposobnosti-biznesa-zaplatit-nalogi-1029559326).
The economic crisis has focused the attention of some Russians on the fact that as a result of the Putin government’s approach, the poor in that country pay significantly higher percentages of their incomes than do those better off (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/79686). But sales of new cars are up, the result of pent-up demand during the lockdown and increasing use of bank loans to pay for them (autonews.ru/news/5f44c4409a79473be6706ecf?from=column_11).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Moscow city officials say they spent some 300 billion rubles (4.1 billion US dollars) in the fight against the coronavirus (regnum.ru/news/3053507.html).
· As of mid-September, Russian theaters will be able to offer 70 percent of their seats to customers, up from 50 percent or less now (regnum.ru/news/3053371.html).
· And Moscow will also again be able to host congresses and exhibitions as long as they follow sanitary rules (regnum.ru/news/3053560.html),