Staunton, December 23 – Fifty-two percent of Russians say they don’t want to get the coronavirus vaccine; 38 percent say that they do, according to a new VTsIOM poll. But 84 percent said that if they were offered a choice between Russian and foreign vaccines, they would choose the Russian (wciom.ru/analytical-reviews/analiticheskii-obzor/vakcinacija-kljuch-na-start).
On a more positive note, the health ministry announced that it was no longer recruiting people to participate in tests of the vaccine, an indication that it may finally have enough people at least to complete the third stage of the test on the Sputnik-5 vaccine it has already put into use (regnum.ru/news/3149315.html).
Russian officials announced that they had registered 27,250 new cases of infection and 549 new deaths over the past 24 hours. They also reported that Russian doctors have now carried out more than 87 million coronavirus tests, as the pandemic continues to spread across the country (regnum.ru/news/society/3148450.html, t.me/COVID2019_official/2238 and regnum.ru/news/3148759.html).
Today brought a space of economic news: Tourism officials reported that visits to Russia from abroad have fallen 93.6 percent this year (regnum.ru/news/3149499.html). Businesses in the Russian Far East have received 11 percent of all federal subsidies since the pandemic began, more than any other region (regnum.ru/news/3148512.html
Another reason that there are fewer places on the market is that the pandemic-ijnduced absence of immigrant workers means that construction has slowed (nazaccent.ru/content/34771-eksperty-sroki-stroitelstva-v-rossii-sryvayutsya.html).
And economic and political analysts say that the pandemic is accelerating the rapprochement of Moscow and Beijing across a broad number of sectors (rbc.ru/politics/23/12/2020/5fe1de2a9a7947f8c00c2f4f).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Experts say that fraudsters have become more successful because the pandemic had increased stress on so many people that there has been a decline in their ability to critically assess offers of various kinds (regnum.ru/news/3149095.html).
· Following the actions of more than 40 regional leaders, Vladimir Putin has called for making December 31 a non-working holiday (echo.msk.ru/news/2762934-echo.html).
· Russians are spending less on New Year’s presents this year than last but increasingly using credit to buy even what they are, retailers report (regnum.ru/news/3148819.html). Customers have been reassured that there is no indication that they might transmit or contract the virus via such gifts (regnum.ru/news/3149145.html).