Tuesday, October 27, 2020

United Russia Deputy Wants to Restrict News on Coronavirus

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 26 – United Russia deputy Gennady Onishchenko, the former chief medical officer of Russia, says that the government must impose tight controls on the media so that untrue stories about the coronavirus pandemic don’t spread (regnum.ru/news/3099001.html), a step that would likely put in place arrangements that could be used against other news as well.

            Also today, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that Vladimir Putin is being given complete information on the new wave of the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3099180.html). But a group of doctors from Kurgan Oblast reminds him in an open letter that regional officials are falsifying the statistics (ura.news/news/1052455289).

            Russian officials registered 17,347 cases of infection in the last 24 hours, a new record, and 219 new deaths, bringing those totals respectively to 1,531,224 and 26,269 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1837). Moscow media reported that 91 Duma deputies have been infected, with 38 in the hospital, and 17 heads of federal subjects (kremlin.ru/events/president/news/64269 and https://svpressa.ru/politic/article/279665/).

            The pandemic continued to spread with closures, including shutdowns of schools the order of the day (regnum.ru/news/society/3096640.html and regnum.ru/news/society/3072297.html).

Moscow imposed new restrictions on public transport: people with high temperatures will not be allowed to ride (t.me/DtRoad/4890).

            Onishchenko said that closing down cities would not be necessary during this wave (versia.ru/onishhenko-otverg-ideyu-o-zakrytii-gorodov-na-fone-pandemii-koronavirusa), but Orenburg Oblast officials recommended people to limit travel beyond their population center limits and extended the self-isolation regime for all over 65 (regnum.ru/news/3099529.html and regnum.ru/news/3099527.html).

            The laboratory that developed the Sputnik-5 vaccine says that about 85 percent of those it has been tested on did not experience any side effects (tass.ru/obschestvo/9818851), but despite that, a new poll in St. Petersburg found that 37 percent of Russians won’t get that or any other vaccine (gorod-812.ru/37-ne-gotovy-privivatsya-nikakoj-vakczinoj-ni-nashej-ni-importnoj/).

            Many Russians are misusing antibiotics in an attempt to self-cure the coronavirus, doctors say (meduza.io/feature/2020/10/26/iz-za-kovida-lyudi-massovo-i-v-osnovnom-bessmyslenno-prinimayut-antibiotiki-eto-ochen-opasno-i-mozhet-navredit-vsemu-chelovechestvu), and officials report a critical shortage of key cancer medications  is roccuring (https://www.znak.com/2020-10-26/blagotvoritelnye_fondy_obratilis_k_putinu_iz_za_deficita_lekarstv_dlya_onkobolnyh).

            On the economic front, the number of regions which have ten percent or more unemployment has risen from six to 13, although the all-Russian rate fell slightly in the last week (novayagazeta.ru/news/2020/10/26/165191-issledovanie-chislo-regionov-s-urovnem-bezrabotitsy-10-i-vyshe-za-god-uvelichilos-vdvoe  and  profile.ru/society/velikij-uvolnitel-skolko-rossiyan-poteryayut-rabotu-iz-za-covid-19-421475/).

            Almost a third of all entrepreneurs say they do not expect their businesses to survive the next wave of the pandemic, ever more of them are seeking to use robots rather than workers, and Russian doctors report that their incomes have fallen during the pandemic (agoniya.eu/archives/9265, vtimes.io/2020/10/26/pandemiya-rezko-povisila-spros-na-robotov-i-avtomatizatsiyu-a1163 and snob.ru/news/opros-bolee-poloviny-rossijskih-vrachej-zayavili-o-padenii-dohodov-za-vremya-pandemii/).

            Russians are not only experiencing pandemic fatigue but are beginning to protest. Some in Novosibirsk demonstrated about the lack of COVID tests in their region, while others in Novosibirsk picketed to complain about what they called “mask fascism” (sibreal.org/a/30913237.html and agoniya.eu/archives/9276).

            But Putin told Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin that he was pleased with the legislature’s work on the economy and social sphere during the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3098906.html).

            Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,

·         Civility is breaking down along generational lines as people are compelled to live with restrictions in public transport and elsewhere (mk.ru/social/2020/10/26/sbros-babushku-s-avtobusa-pozhilye-okazalis-diskriminirovany-pandemiey.html).

·         Pediatricians report that children who are infected with the coronavirus may have their sperm production affected permanently (snob.ru/news/akademik-ran-u-malchikov-perebolevshih-covid-19-proishodit-izmenenie-spermatogeneza/).

·         Officials report that Russians in isolation called doctors twice as often as they did before that restriction was imposed (realtribune.ru/news/people/5327).

·         Moscow judges are violating procedural rules to process the enormous number of fines that have been imposed for violations of pandemic rules (newizv.ru/news/city/26-10-2020/37-sekund-i-shtraf-gotov-kak-moskovskie-sudy-karayut-za-narushenie-samoizolyatsii).

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