Staunton, March 16 – Officials in the Northern capital say that their city may face a third wave of the pandemic because the Russian government in Moscow isn’t sending them enough vaccine. They point to dramatic declines in the vaccination rate recently, apparently a result of such shortages (echo.msk.ru/news/2805918-echo.html and regnum.ru/news/3215840.html).
This problem isn’t confined to St. Petersburg. Officials in Sverdlovsk Oblast say that they in the region as a whole but especially in Yekaterinburg have run so low in their supplies of the vaccine that they have been forced to postpone plans to vaccinate deputies and senior officials there (ura.news/news/1052476063).
The pandemic continued to ebb and flow across Russia with the overall decline continuing as Moscow reported registering 9393 new cases of infection and 443 new deaths over the last 24 hours and the Kremlin saying the general trend was such that restrictions could be gradually lifted (t.me/COVID2019_official/2608, regnum.ru/news/society/3210111.html and regnum.ru/news/3216396.html).
In Daghestan, for example, officials allowed mosques and churches to reopen for regular services (regnum.ru/news/3215999.html).
On the vaccine front, the developers of the Sputnik-5 vaccine said there had not been a single death among all those who have taken it, but Russians still remain fearful of the vaccine, more fearful some say than they earlier were of the disease (echo.msk.ru/news/2805966-echo.html and ng.ru/columnist/2021-03-16/8_8103_vision.html).
The Russian government announced that it was sending 2.7 billion rubles (40 million US dollars) to Russia’s regions to support free medications for those suffering from the coronavirus infection (regnum.ru/news/3216217.html). At the same time, Moscow officials said they expect to profit from the problems AstraZeneca’s vaccine has been having (svpressa.ru/health/article/292744/ and rusmonitor.com/rossiya-hochet-pokorit-mir-s-pomoshhyu-legkogo-sputnika.html).
On the economic front, Russians spent nine percent less in 2020 than they did in 2019 as a result of the pandemic (echo.msk.ru/news/2805836-echo.html). Falling incomes meant that fewer could get mortgage loans especially as prices have been rising among entry-level property (finanz.ru/novosti/lichnyye-finansy/v-rossii-nachalsya-deficit-kvartir-1030216476 and rbc.ru/finances/16/03/2021/604f58759a7947a322c31042).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· The Russian foreign ministry says Moscow does not plan to require certificates of vaccination against the coronavirus from those applying for entry visas (regnum.ru/news/3216745.html).
· The production of fake certificates about coronavirus vaccinations has become so large that few trust any they are shown, including genuine ones (versia.ru/pochemu-ne-stoit-exat-v-otpusk-s-falshivoj-spravkoj-ob-otsutstvii-koronavirusa).
· Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova acknowledges that the authorities made mistakes in the introduction of distance learning for school children (ura.news/news/1052476149).
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