Staunton, July 6 – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that the Russian government opposes the steps some regions have taken to close their regions off so that no one with the pandemic can enter them but it has not taken any steps other than the expression of displeasure to stop such actions (regnum.ru/news/3314493.html and regnum.ru/news/3314464.html).
Today, Russian officials reported registering 23,378 new cases of infection and 737 new deaths from the coronavirus, the latter being a record. As has been true in recent weeks, the capitals and their neighboring oblasts have led on both these measures (t.me/COVID2019_official/3219).
As the pandemic spreads, restrictions of various kinds are being imposed. One of the latest is in Smolensk where officials have banned lawyers from visiting their clients in penal institutions if the lawyers cannot prove that they have been vaccinated (regnum.ru/news/society/3310819.html and advstreet.ru/news/advokatov-bez-privivki-ili-antitel-ne-pustyat-v-smolenskie-sizo-i-ik/).
On the vaccine front, Russian officials say they are now vaccinating Russians at the rate of 850,000 a day and that they have begun a revaccination program in the military (regnum.ru/news/3314580.html and regnum.ru/news/3314768.html). Some companies have complied with requirements to vaccinate 60 percent of their employees but others are having a hard time doing so (regnum.ru/news/3314812.html and nakanune.ru/news/2021/07/06/22608849/).
On the economic front, Moscow is appealing for foreign investment given that investment in the Russian economy has fallen 95 percent since the pandemic began, and economists are warning that if the pandemic doesn’t end by fall, the Kremlin will have to impose truly draconian measures or face the prospect that the economy will be in deep recession for many years (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/86434 and rosbalt.ru/moscow/2021/07/06/1910120.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· A health ministry post suggesting that premature births are higher among those not getting vaccines has provoked widespread criticism in the blogosphere (regnum.ru/news/3314763.html). Officials also say the pandemic has pushed down birthrates in the northern capital (regnum.ru/news/3314306.html).
· Deathrates in some Russian regions are now so high that officials say they are running out of space in existing cemeteries (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/86483).
· A joke is making its way around Moscow according to which anyone in the city who refuses to be vaccinated will be given free land in Siberia and compelled to go to work there (sovsekretno.ru/articles/koronavirus-po-moskovski/).