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Coronavirus ‘Worsening’ in Moscow, Mayor Says

Moscow is the epicenter of Russia's coronavirus outbreak. Mikhail Japaridze / TASS

Moscow’s coronavirus outbreak has spread this week despite efforts to contain it, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Thursday.

Sobyanin credited the Russian capital’s public transport mask mandate, working from home rule and remote learning plan for bringing down the number of new Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks.

“But earlier this week the situation began to worsen again, as seen in the number of new infected people and hospitalizations,” Sobyanin wrote on his website.

After averaging 4,800 new infections per day in the week from Oct. 26-Nov. 1, Moscow has seen the number of new cases spike to more than 5,200 per day so far this week. Hospitalizations rose from 1,150 to 1,300 over the same period.

Sobyanin announced a second extension of distance learning for Moscow schoolchildren in grades 6-11 until Nov. 22, saying it has proven effective in slowing the spread of Covid-19. First-to-fifth graders returned to school two weeks ago following a two-week vacation to slow the spread of Covid-19.

“A lot of kids want to go back to school, that’s quite understandable. But with the current situation and what’s happening around us and abroad, it’s obviously too early to relax,” Sobyanin wrote.

Last week, the mayor extended an order for 30% of all Moscow businesses’ employees to work from home through Nov. 28.

Moscow is the epicenter of Russia’s coronavirus outbreak with around a quarter of the 1.7 million total confirmed cases and 29,500 deaths. 

Record numbers of Russians have been infected and killed by Covid-19 over the past month as the pandemic has shifted to far-flung regions outside Moscow. Cities including St. Petersburg and the western enclave of Kaliningrad have seen their highest caseloads since the spring outbreak, while the Moscow region has doubled Covid-19 hospitalizations over the past month.

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