Staunton, Sept. 16 – Three issues dominate discussions of the pandemic in Russia today: Putin’s self-isolation after some of his staff were found to be infected, the WHO’s decision to put on hold approval of the Russian vaccine because of irregularities at the place it is being produced, and a new prediction that Russia faces a fourth and still worse wave of the pandemic.
The Kremlin explained the decision for Putin to return to self-isolation by pointing to a large number of staffers who had been vaccinated early but not recently revaccinated and some of whom had developed signs of infection. It said that the president would be isolated for at least another week (regnum.ru/news/3372109.html, regnum.ru/news/3372101.htmlregnum.ru/news/3372038.htmland regnum.ru/news/3371721.html).
The World Health Organization said it had suspended the approval process for Russia’s Sputnik-5 vaccine because quality standards had not been maintained at one of the plants where the vaccine was being produced (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/09/16/voz-priostanovila-protsess-odobreniia-vaktsiny-sputnik-v-iz-za-narusheniia-pravil-na-zavode-po-proizvodstvu-preparata-news).
And Higher School of Economics medical specialist Artyom Gil said that Russia now faces the prospect of a new wave of the pandemic and that this wave is likely, for a variety of reasons, to be even more serious than the ones the country has experienced up to now (kp.ru/daily/28331/4475823/).
Today, Russian officials reported registering 19,594 new cases of infection and 794 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours as the pandemic continued to spread across the country (t.me/COVID2019_official/3562 and regnum.ru/news/society/3369923.html).
Because of the spread of the pandemic, ever more schools are closing or going to distance learning and more higher educational institutions are doing the same, despite recent assurances by Russian officials in Moscow that neither was going to happen on a widespread basis (regnum.ru/news/3372452.html and regnum.ru/news/3371748.html).
Turkey announced it will allow Russians who have been vaccinated with Sputnik-5 to enter the country freely but those who have received other Russian vaccines will be subject to medical testing at the border (ura.news/news/1052505422). Estonia will allow Russians who have been vaccinated to enter the country freely (regnum.ru/news/3372563.html).
A new poll shows that 60 percent of Russian residents favor giving people who get vaccinated paid time off after they receive the shots; but the Presidential Administration said it would not weigh in on the idea one way or the other (regnum.ru/news/3371966.htmlregnum.ru/news/3372027.html).
Meanwhile, officials in many places are setting up vaccination centers at polling places (regnum.ru/news/3371749.html). But Sakha officials say they have not yet succeeded in overcoming all resistance to the shots among the population of that republic (regnum.ru/news/3371589.html).