Staunton, March 23 – Vladimir Putin finally received his first shot of the coronavirus vaccine late in the day he promised he would get it and after millions of Russians who have both shots. But as one would expect, the Kremlin leader was lavished with praise for “showing Russian society the importance and necessity of vaccination” (regnum.ru/news/3222892.html).
The Russian government meanwhile reported registering 8457 new cases of infection and 427 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours, continuing a countrywide decline even as the pandemic ebbed and flowed across the country (t.me/COVID2019_official/2647 regnum.ru/news/society/3217850.html regnum.ru/news/3222745.html).
Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said there were no plans to introduce a new lockdown because that would cause serious problems for the population and for the economy, but she said wearing masks will continue to be required until Russia reaches herd immunity (regnum.ru/news/3223321.html, regnum.ru/news/3222488.html and bfm.ru/news/468054).
In other comments, Golikova said there were no more than 6,000 vaccination centers operating in Russia, although she reiterated the government’s longstanding position that making vaccination obligatory would be a mistake (regnum.ru/news/3223131.html and regnum.ru/news/3222616.html).
Health ministry officials said that Russia will soon launch its third vaccine against the coronavirus, but at the same time, participants in testing for the second have sent the ministry an open letter asking it to look into the way in which the test was run and just how effective EpiVakKorona is (echo.msk.ru/news/2809542-echo.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Radio Liberty reported that most court hearings remain closed as all of them were at the beginning of the pandemic (svoboda.org/a/31164985.html).
· Evidence is emerging that on occasion Russian doctors blamed the coronavirus for deaths that were the result of medical mistakes (severreal.org/a/31163028.html).
· Moscow’s super rich have begun partying with a vengeance, the US-based Daily Beast reports. “The Moscow elite no longer gives a damn about Covid-19: they are ready to party,” it says (thedailybeast.com/moscow-super-rich-kickstart-post-covid-party-season-with-a-transparent-nuns-habit-and-claws inopressa.ru/article/24mar2021/dailybeast/postcovid.html).