Staunton, June 23 – Even as many regions are running short of the vaccine and the number of Russians who have been vaccinated sits at 16.7 million, the Kremlin is constantly revaccinating those who may come into contact with Vladimir Putin, his spokesman says (regnum.ru/news/3303719.html, regnum.ru/news/3303991.html, regnum.ru/news/3303994.html and regnum.ru/news/3303747.html).
Russian officials today reported registering 17,594 new cases of coronavirus infections and 548 new deaths from it over the last 24 hours, half of which were in Moscow and Moscow Oblast alone, as the pandemic continued to hit St. Petersburg and areas east of the Urals especially hard (t.me/COVID2019_official/3127and regnum.ru/news/society/3301374.html).
Moscow officials blamed the current spike there on the arrival and spread of the Indian strain of the virus, and many wondered why the Russian government has been so slow to stop flights to and from India, the source of this strain (regnum.ru/news/3303923.html and newizv.ru/news/politics/23-06-2021/dobro-pozhalovat-virus-pochemu-rossiya-ne-zakryla-vozdushnoe-soobschenie-s-indiey).
In some regions, the number of hospitalizations from the pandemic has overwhelmed the capacity of doctors to treat and even beds to hold those with the disease (regnum.ru/news/3303153.html and regnum.ru/news/3303157.html).
The Kremlin’s push for people to get vaccinated, including the threat in some regions that Russians who don’t get the shots may find their jobs in jeopardy, has pushed up the percentage of Russians who say they will get vaccinated to 49 percent and the share still holding out against down to 30 percent (wciom.ru/analytical-reviews/analiticheskii-obzor/vakcinacija-s-ehlementami-objazatelnosti-za-i-protiv and newizv.ru/news/society/23-06-2021/bolee-treti-grazhdan-gotovy-vaktsinirovatsya-chtoby-ne-poteryat-rabotu).
But a new problem has emerged that may slow demand for the shots: the World Health Organization has identified problems with the Russian production of the Sputnik-5 vaccine in the primary factory in Ufa (mbk-news.appspot.com/news/productsput/).
On the economic front, FSB head Aleksandr Bortnikov has become the spokesman for those who fear new restrictions will harm the economy. He told a Moscow conference that the full impact of restrictions on economic activity was very large but had yet to be adequately assessed (regnum.ru/news/3303446.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Experts say that there will soon be a large market for fake QR codes Russians are to use to enter restaurants and other facilities (regnum.ru/news/3303947.html).
· A Vzglyad commentator says that those who question vaccinations must be isolated or forced to be quiet (vz.ru/opinions/2021/6/23/1105342.html).
· Now that foreign flights have been resumed, Russians are cancelling reservations at Russian resorts in favor of foreign ones, even though Putin has warned that travelling abroad carries with it risks of infection (capost.media/news/otdykh/rossiyskie-turisty-menyayut-putevki-na-otechestvennye-kurorty-v-polzu-turetskikh/bfm.ru/news/475075).