Staunton, March 8 – Putin spokesman Vladimir Paskov says that Russia and its special services have “no relationship” to campaigns criticizing Western vaccines despite widespread claims by Western and Russian news outlets that Moscow hopes to profit from the sale of its own vaccine by denigrating those produced by others (echo.msk.ru/news/2801876-echo.html).
Today, continuing the downward trend on both measures, the Russian government reported 10,253 new cases of infection and 379 new deaths from the coronavirus (t.me/COVID2019_official/2564), as the pandemic continued to ebb and flow across the country (regnum.ru/news/society/3202625.html).
While some restrictions were extended in some regions, Moscow was opening up with the most significant limitation lifted today being on obligatory stay at home orders for the elderly in the Russian capital (echo.msk.ru/news/2801822-echo.html).There more than 700,000 residents have been vaccinated (echo.msk.ru/news/2801896-echo.html).
More countries in Africa and Asia signed on to import and use the Russian vaccine, but EU regulators called on members of that group not to approve Sputnik-5 for widespread use (rusmonitor.com/evropejskij-regulyator-prizyvaet-strany-es-ne-odobryat-sputnik-v-dlya-ekstrennogo-ispolzovaniya.html).
Meanwhile in other pandemic-related developments,
· Psychologists are now calling the impact of the pandemic on the mental state of Russians “the great depression” because the coronavirus has left people more worried and in dire straits psychologically than had been expected (russian.eurasianet.org/россия-великая-депрессия-или-как-пандемия-повлияла-на-психическое-здоровье-россиян).
· Moscow commentator Igor Eidman says that the Kremlin is doing everything it can to earn money from the coronavirus’ negative impact on others (newsru.com/blog/08mar2021/vaccine2.html).
· A Higher School of Economics analysis concludes that Moscow “has underestimated the long-term consequences of the crisis” (css.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/gess/cis/center-for-securities-studies/pdfs/RAD263.pdf#page=12).