Staunton, April 28 – Vladimir Putin during his visit to St. Petersburg said Russian officials must work harder to prevent doctors from leaving the profession lest their departure leave the country without enough medical personnel to deal with any upsurge in the coronavirus in the coming months (ura.news/articles/1036282243
According to epidemiologists, the number of people with antibodies to the coronavirus is rising in most Russian regions but not in all, including Moscow (regnum.ru/news/3255837.html). And officials are reporting that new strains of the virus are many times more infectious than the ones Russia has been dealing with (regnum.ru/news/3255549.html).
Moscow has announced that it will be sending 200,000 doses of vaccine to India but also that it will require coronavirus testing on everyone arriving in Russia from that country (regnum.ru/news/3255542.html and novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/04/28/kreml-rossiia-otpravit-dlia-borby-s-covid-19-v-indii-medtekhniku-i-200-tys-upakovok-favipiravira-effektivnost-etogo-preparata-ne-dokazana).
At the same time, education officials called on schools to give their students and staff days off during the upcoming long holidays Vladimir Putin has extended (stoletie.ru/lenta/minprosveshhenija_rekomendovalo_shkolam_ujti_na_kanikuly_s_1_po_10_maja_203.htm).
On the vaccine front, Brazil says it has rejected the Russian vaccine because the serum includes live viruses which could lead to the spread of the disease, something Russian doctors deny and have threatened to sue the Brazilians for defamation (rusmonitor.com/pochemu-braziliya-otklonila-sputnik-v-on-soderzhit-zhivoj-virus-sposobnyj-k-razmnozheniyu.html and meduza.io/feature/2021/04/28/glavnyy-investor-sputnika-ob-yavil-v-tvittere-chto-eta-vaktsina-bezopasnee-vseh-v-mire-oh-ne-stoilo-delat-eto-s-takimi-argumentami).
And residents of Chechnya are reporting that officials there are compelling them to get the vaccine, something Moscow has repeatedly assured Russians will not be allowed (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/363331/).
On the economic front, a new study shows that the pandemic has hurt the Russian middle class far more than those in other income classes. That is because government assistance programs do not extend to those classed as middle class. As a result, it is the source of “the new poor” in Russia (vtimes.io/2021/04/28/zarazhenie-bednostyu-a4751).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· The Russian Orthodox church has allowed the opening of a vaccination center in one of its facilities for the first time (kommersant.ru/doc/4792612).
· The Moscow Patriarchate says it will not restrict church attendance during Russian Easter (regnum.ru/news/3255760.html).
· A VTsIOM poll finds that Russians believe ambulance service has actually improved over the last year, but reports show that in many places, those who staff this service have come down with the coronavirus (wciom.ru/analytical-reviews/analiticheskii-obzor/skoraja-pomoshch-v-pandemiju and regnum.ru/news/3255849.html).