Staunton, January 23 – The announcement that Moscow has agreed to transfer the information necessary for a Turkish firm to produce the Sputnik-5 vaccine has sparked a sharp discussion online, with many Russians expressing concern about this kind of outsourcing (tass.ru/ekonomika/10530227 and regnum.ru/news/3171361.html).
But the Russian government has little choice but to contract with foreign firms to produce the vaccine because Russian firms lack the capacity to produce the vast numbers of doses needed to combat the pandemic. So far, Russian firms have produced 7.6 million doses, but the authorities plan to vaccinate 20 million people in the first quarter of this year (https://echo.msk.ru/news/2778588-echo.html and regnum.ru/news/3171199.html).
Today, Russian officials reported registering 20,921 new cases of infection, the lowest figure since November 11, and 550 new covid deaths (t.me/COVID2019_official/2387 and versia.ru/v-rossii-za-sutki-vyyavili-20-921-novyx-sluchaev-zabolevaniya-covid-19-i-zafiksirovali-559-smertej) as the pandemic continued to ebb and flow in various parts of the country (regnum.ru/news/society/3170739.html).
Education Minister Sergey Kravtsov addressed one of the greatest concerns among Russians: Many parents feel that distance learning has made their children fall behind. He says that is not the case but adds that Moscow is coming up with special guidance to ensure that all students meet normal standards (ura.news/news/1052468340).
One intriguing detail today was this: a policewoman in Moscow handed out masks to those taking part in the unsanctioned meeting in Moscow in support of Aleksey Navalny. The demonstrators quickly exhausted her stock, and some fear that the protests will be a super spreader event (kp.ru/daily/27230.5/4356646).
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said that introducing a coronavirus passport is impermissible because it would limit the right of people to move around within the country and abroad (regnum.ru/news/3171235.html). And an Ivanovo bedding company announced special sheets to help people avoid catching and recover from the coronavirus.
The only problem with these sheets is that the price of a single set for a double bed exceeds the minimum income of Russians and thus is far beyond the reach of many (newizv.ru/news/society/23-01-2021/proverka-ni-kak-antivirusnoe-postelnoe-belie-lechit-ot-koronavirusa).
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