Staunton, May 17 – Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko says that coronavirus infections and deaths are rising in most Russian cities (regnum.ru/news/3270832.html), but the real hotspots this week are in and around Moscow and St. Petersburg, with the situation in the northern capital so dire officials are preparing for a third wave and warning of new restrictions.
Officials in St. Petersburg report that infections have increased by a third over the last week and that unless things change soon, they will be forced to impose draconian new restrictions. To prevent that, they are urging everyone who hasn’t been vaccinated to get the shots (regnum.ru/news/3271601.html, regnum.ru/news/3271492.html and regnum.ru/news/3271483.html).
But apparently not expecting that to happen, officials in both the city and the surrounding oblast are gearing up for a new wave, opening more special wards for coronavirus victims and setting up new mobile immunization facilities (regnum.ru/news/3271476.html and regnum.ru/news/3271087.html).
Moscow, whose officials are much less willing to put out negative information, nonetheless had to report today that it had registered 3573 new cases of coronavirus infection, a number that means the city of Moscow with only 10 percent of the country’s population had about 40 percent of the cases (regnum.ru/news/3270984.html).
For Russia as a whole, officials reported they had registered 9328 new cases of infection and 340 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours, as cities showed increases and rural areas reported declines (https://t.me/COVID2019_official/2947), as the pandemic ebbed and flowed across the country (https://regnum.ru/news/society/3267667.html).
Aeroflot announced it was not selling any more tickets to Turkey through the end of June except for two flights to Istanbul each week. Moscow dispatched a team of experts to Turkey to see if there is any possibility of lifting that highly unpopular restriction sooner (regnum.ru/news/3271611.html and regnum.ru/news/3271606.html).
The Institute of Experimental Medicine announced that it is working on an oral vaccine against the coronavirus, prompting some Internet commentators to say that they will wait until Moscow comes up with one that is put in Russian beer (regnum.ru/news/3270533.html).
And Vladimir Putin has sparked a new controversy about Moscow’s handling of the pandemic by appointing to the scientific council attached to the Russian Security Council Aleksandr Starunsky, who has been accused in the US and Estonia of masterminding Russian disinformation efforts about the coronavirus (meduza.io/feature/2021/05/17/putin-naznachil-chlenom-nauchnogo-soveta-pri-sovbeze-sotrudnika-gru-kotorogo-ssha-i-estoniya-obvinyali-v-rasprostranenii-feykov-o-kovide).