Staunton, October 30 – Despite Vladimir Putin’s assurance that he is not planning to order a new stay-at-home regime and other officials’ statements that there is no need to lay in supplies, Russians in many places are buying food and other goods in anticipation they will soon be ordered to stay at home (regnum.ru/news/3103437.html, business-gazeta.ru/article/486471regnum.ru/news/3103339.html).
Indeed, the surge in buying has become so large and widespread that observers are suggesting that prices for many items will rise and that individual stores may run out of those things in greatest demand (regnum.ru/news/3103484.html).
The numbers of infections and deaths continue to rise with the authorities reporting the registration of 18,283 new cases of infection and 355 new deaths over the last 24 hours, raising those totals to 1,599,976 and 27,656 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1874). Many are suggesting these numbers understate the problem (novayagazeta.ru/news/2020/10/30/165320-fontanka-v-peterubrge-umershih-ot-covid-kak-minimum-v-dva-raza-bolshe-chem-soobschaet-opershtab).
The pandemic continues to spread with ever more institutions going to distance operations. That includes schools which are declaring extended holidays so as not to boost the number of school “closures” Moscow doesn’t want to hear about (regnum.ru/news/society/3101964.html, regnum.ru/news/society/3072297.html and regnum.ru/news/3103689.html).
Students at some universities are petitioning to have their schools go over to distance learning, with at least some of those seeking that option arguing that tuition should be cut as distance learning is cheaper than in-class operations (regnum.ru/news/3103663.html and regnum.ru/news/3103467.html).
The situation in many regions is at the edge of collapse as far as medical care is concerned (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/vezut-srazu-na-kladbishche-medicina-regionov-rukhnula-pod-natiskom-covid-1029746026regnum.ru/news/3103263.html).
And officials reported that Russians cannot expect to be allowed to visit European countries in the near future (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2020/10/30/87768-kovidnaya-katastrofa).
At the same time, Moscow has told regional governments that they will receive vaccines supplies on the basis of their showing of how well prepared they are to keep them safe and then distribute them to the population rather than any other criterion (ura.news/news/1052456601).
Problems with oxygen for hospitals are now affecting more than 20 regions, not the isolated incident that Moscow officials have been suggesting (regnum.ru/news/3103857.html).
On the economic front, Moscow for the first time in 13 years has begun selling some of its gold reserves to cover government spending without dipping into reserve funds as many have urged (finanz.ru/novosti/birzhevyye-tovary/rossiya-vpervye-za-13-let-rasprodaet-zolotoy-zapas-1029747177).
Hotels in the majority of regions of Russia are close to the exhaustion of their reserves, are shedding employees, and may soon be forced to close, a business association says (regnum.ru/news/3103764.html). They and other businesses have received 420 billion rubles (six billion US dollars) of refinanced loans during the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3103148.html).
Menawhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Consumer affairs chief Anna Popova asked Patriarch Kirill to impose all protective measures in his churches (regnum.ru/news/3103720.html).
· The Kremlin says paying doctors in the regions must be a priority for the governments of federal subjects (regnum.ru/news/3103512.html)) because doctors there are in such short supply (novayagazeta.ru/news/2020/10/30/165325-v-kremle-zayavili-o-difitsite-vrachey-v-regionah).
· And at least one patient near death east of the Urals has declared that in the event of his death, “the health ministry is to be blamed” (https://newtimes.ru/articles/detail/198319?fcc).
· Russians are debating whether they can take the defense of protective measures into their own hands when the government fails to enforce them (znak.com/2020-10-30/mogut_li_passazhira_bez_maski_vygnat_iz_transporta_i_chem_otvetit_na_primenenie_sily).