Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday approved a Cabinet’s proposal for a week-long workplace shutdown as coronavirus deaths surged to another daily record at 1,028, with 34,073 new infections.
Putin said the “non-working days" from October 30 to November 7, during which people would continue to receive salaries, could begin earlier or be extended for certain regions. “The epidemiological situation is developing differently in each region," Putin said. “In light of this, the heads of regions are given the right to impose additional measures."
The move follows countries across the globe that have imposed or mulling Covid-19 lockdown ahead of winter months and battle on the Delta variant:
China on Tuesday imposed lockdown in two northern border areas after the country reported nine new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily tally since the end of September. Five of the nine new local cases were found in the northwestern city of Xian in Shaanxi province, and two were in the northern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia, data from the National Health Commission (NHC) showed on Tuesday.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday extended lockdown in the country’s biggest city of Auckland for two more weeks. New Zealand is now fighting a Delta outbreak that has spread across Auckland and neighbouring regions despite tough lockdown and border closures.
Singapore on Wednesday announced an extension of Covid-19 curbs for around a month as daily cases continued to surge and hit a record 3,994 on Tuesday. While Singapore has vaccinated more than 80% of its 5.45 million population, asymptomatic or mild cases have been rising steadily, spreading the virus and mounting pressure on hospitals and medical staff.
Latvia announced a Covid-19 lockdown from October 21 until November 15 as infections soared in one of the least vaccinated European Union countries. “Our health system is in danger … The only way out of this crisis is to get vaccinated," Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said after an emergency government meeting, blaming low vaccination rates for the spike in hospitalisations.
Ireland will allow nightclubs to reopen for the first time since March 2020 but stepped back on Tuesday from plans to drop almost all COVID-19 restrictions in response to a rise in infections in one of the world’s most vaccinated countries. Ireland has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world with 92% of adults fully protected but also one of the highest infection rates in Europe with over 400 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days.
British health officials have raised concerns over a rising wave of COVID-19 cases and increase in numbers going into hospital. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has lifted almost all COVID-19 restrictions in England, ending social distancing measures and mask mandates. The Johnson government has said that it is relying on vaccinations, including booster shots for the vulnerable, to avoid lockdowns during a bumpy winter, having previously shut down the economy three times.
Bulgaria will make a COVID-19 “Green Certificate" mandatory for indoor access to restaurants, cinemas, gyms and shopping malls as the country struggles with a rising number of coronavirus infections. The health pass - a digital or paper certificate showing someone has been vaccinated, tested negative or recently recovered from the virus - was originally conceived to ease travel among European Union states.
(With inputs from Reuters)