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Coronavirus in Russia: The Latest News | Sept. 21

Kirill Zykov / Moskva News Agency

Russia has confirmed 7,313,851 cases of coronavirus and 199,808 deaths, according to the national coronavirus information center. Russia’s total excess fatality count since the start of the coronavirus pandemic is around 596,000.

Sept. 21: What you need to know today

  • Russia on Tuesday reported 19,179 new coronavirus cases and 812 deaths.
  • Russian officials have increased warnings that the country faces a looming fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Anna Popova, the head of the Rospotrebnadzor health watchdog, which is leading the country’s response to the virus, said the growth in new infections was “intense” in 36 of Russia’s 85 regions. She also warned regional healthcare systems to be prepared for a possible influx in patients over the coming weeks.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that dozens of people in his entourage tested positive for the coronavirus before he went into self-isolation earlier this week.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has suspended its approval process for Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, pending a fresh inspection of at least one Russian factory manufacturing the shot.

Sept. 16

— A Russian pharmaceutical company has launched production of the British-Swedish AstraZenica vaccine. The doses will be intended for export only as Russia only uses domestically developed vaccines within its borders.

Sept. 14

— Russian President Vladimir Putin is going into self-isolation over coronavirus concerns in his inner circle, the Kremlin said Tuesday. 

Sept. 13

— Russia will resume regular air travel with Spain, Iraq, Kenya and Slovakia starting Sept. 21, the government announced Monday.

— The first dose of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine is 78.6% effective against coronavirus infection, 87.6% effective against hospitalization and 84.8% effective at preventing coronavirus deaths, according to a large-scale study of Argentine vaccinations published in The Lancet on Monday. The study noted the results might not be applicable to new variants like the dominant Delta variant.

Sept. 8

— Roughly 700 Russian doctors have died from the coronavirus so far in 2021, the Health Ministry's chief non-staff pathology specialist Igor Bukhtiyarov said.

Sept. 6

— Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot has suspended several pilots for refusing to vaccinate against the coronavirus, the RBC news website reported, citing a company spokesperson.

Sept. 2

— Russia could see a renewed surge of the coronavirus as early as this month, top health officials have warned.

— Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine demonstrated 94.8% efficacy against Covid-19, according to real world data from San Marino, where around 70% of the population have been inoculated with Sputnik V, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said Thursday. The vaccine also showed 95.9% effectiveness against hospitalization.

— The protection offered by Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine could increase during the first six months after vaccination, a preliminary study in Argentina has found. Researchers analyzed blood samples of those inoculated with the Russian jab and found antibody responses were stronger six months after being vaccinated compared to levels recorded three weeks after the second dose.

Aug. 31

— Slovakia will halt the use of Sputnik V due to low demand among its population, reports said. The EU member state's decision to approve the Russian vaccine ahead of EU approval sparked a political uproar that led to the resignation of its prime minister.

Aug. 26

— Russia registered its fifth coronavirus vaccine, EpiVacCorona-N, Interfax reported. The Health Ministry said it was an upgrade on the already-approved EpiVacCorona jab, which had been under scrutiny after clinical trial participants raised questions about the vaccine’s effectiveness. Both were developed by the state-run Vector Institute.

— Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine offers strong protection against hospitalization, according to scientists who have conducted the first independent real-world study of the jab’s effectiveness in combating severe infections.

Aug. 18

— Russia will launch a nationwide lottery for citizens who are vaccinated, according to an order signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. One thousand winners will be randomly selected to receive cash prizes of 100,000 rubles ($1,360).

Aug. 17

— Thailand will allow tourists vaccinated with Russia's Sputnik V to enter its Phuket Sandbox areas, the Bangkok Post reported.

Aug. 13

— Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has canceled rules requiring employers in the capital to ensure at least 30% of unvaccinated staff work remotely. Guidelines to employers to regularly test employees for coronavirus and take temperature checks have also been scrapped.

Aug. 12

— Chinese aviation authorities have suspended Moscow-Shanghai flights operated by Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot for two weeks starting Monday, Aug. 16, after five Covid-19 cases were detected among passengers on the July 30 flight, the Russian state-run 1prime.ru news website reported.

Aug. 11

— Russia's Sputnik V vaccine is 83% effective against the Delta variant, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said. Research published in The Lancet this winter showed Sputnik V to be 91.6% effective against the original coronavirus strain.

Aug. 6

— Russia saw more than 530,000 excess deaths between the start of the pandemic and the end of June 2021, according to official data.

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July 30

— The European Union now recognizes vaccination certificates from San Marino, where 90% of those vaccinated have received Sputnik V.

— Russia has approved clinical trials of a combination of its Sputnik V and the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine that will run through next spring.

— Starting Aug. 9, Russia plans to resume flights with Egypt's resort cities of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, the national coronavirus task force announced. Russia also plans to resume flights with Bahrain, the Dominican Republic and Moldova on that date.

July 23

— Russia's Labor Ministry and the consumer protection watchdog Rospotrebnadzor issued instructions for employers to ensure 80% immunity among staff through vaccinations and recovery from Covid-19, allowing paid leave for vaccinated employees and suspension without pay for those who refuse to get vaccinated.

July 22

— Moscow’s 119 health clinics and 45 vaccination sites began offering Sputnik V and Sputnik Light booster vaccine shots against coronavirus, according to Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova. Mayor Sergei Sobyanin kicked off the booster campaign on July 1, urging vaccinated residents to get a third shot six months later, as the country battles the highly contagious Delta variant.

July 16

— Starting July 19, Moscow restaurants will no longer require a QR code proving one's vaccination, immunity or negative test results to dine indoors, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced Friday.

— Most service sector businesses in Moscow met a Friday deadline to ensure 60% of their workforce received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the capital’s coronavirus taskforce said. Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced he would give employers who fell short another week, until July 22, to meet the requirement.

July 15

— The Kremlin said that Moscow had no immediate plans to allow foreign coronavirus vaccines into Russia, despite the country's sluggish vaccination rates and rising death toll in a third wave of the pandemic.

July 14

— Russia will resume reciprocal flights with France and the Czech Republic from July 24, the country's coronavirus information headquarters announced Wednesday.

— Russia has overtaken France as having the world's fourth-highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, according to the World Health Organization.

July 13

— The developers of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine said on Tuesday a deal had been struck with Indian vaccine maker the Serum Institute to produce 300 million doses annually.

— Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency has ordered that airlines test all pilots and flight attendants for coronavirus once every 72 hours, the RBC news website reported.

— The republic of Buryatia in Siberia has lifted its lockdown after becoming the first Russian region to order all non-essential shops and businesses to close from June 27.

July 9

— Russia’s Black Sea coastal resorts including Sochi will require visiting tourists to vaccinate against the coronavirus within three days of arrival starting Aug. 1, regional authorities announced.

— St. Petersburg authorities will ban gatherings of more than 75 people from July 13, city officials announced. Case numbers have spiked in Russia's second-largest city as it has hosted seven matches in the football tournament.

— Moscow's outdoor restaurant verandas will stay open to diners who lack a QR code proving their vaccination or immunity through Aug. 1. Originally, the city planned to require QR codes to dine at verandas starting July 12.

July 7

 Starting July 7, Russians returning from overseas will be required to self-isolate until they test negative for Covid-19, consumer protection watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said. Vaccinated or recently recovered Russians are exempt from the rule.

— A senior administrator at a western Russian clinic has been detained on suspicion of selling fake coronavirus vaccine certificates, police said. Meanwhile, Moscow police announced Thursday the city’s first criminal case against a person who had allegedly purchased a fake QR code for dining indoors at the city's restaurants. 

July 6

— The Kremlin on Tuesday said it doesn't support closing internal borders between Russia's regions to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

July 5

— Germany's health agency said on Monday it would lift a ban on most travelers from five countries including Russia that have been hit by the Delta variant of Covid-19. Russia will be reclassified from Wednesday as a "high-incidence area."

July 1

— Moscow authorities announced that all patients with acute respiratory symptoms will be required to self-isolate and take express tests for COVID-19.

— Supplies of Russia's EpiVacCorona vaccine have run out in Moscow, city authorities said Thursday, leaving Sputnik V and Sputnik Light as the only remaining vaccine options for Muscovites after supplies of the CoviVac ran out on June 22.

June 30

— President Vladimir Putin said that he was vaccinated against the coronavirus with Russia’s Sputnik V jab, lifting the veil on a months-long secret that did little to quell Russians’ vaccine hesitancy.

— Moscow will start offering booster shots of the Sputnik V vaccine for individuals who were vaccinated more than six months ago, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced.

— Russia has confirmed the first Delta Plus coronavirus variant infections within its borders days after media sounded the alarm about the presence of the potentially more dangerous new strain.

June 29

— The Kremlin said that Russia no longer expects to meet its goal of vaccinating 60% of its population by the fall.

— Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that 151,000 people in Russia are currently in hospital with the coronavirus.

— Russia's Black Sea resort city Sochi will open its first "Covid-free" beach only accessible to those who have been vaccinated, have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months or have negative PCR test results, its deputy mayor said Wednesday.

June 28

— Starting Monday, all restaurant and cafes in Moscow will require patrons to present an official QR code confirming their vaccination status, immunity or negative PCR test results.

June 27

— All Russian travelers, vaccinated or not, will have to present a negative PCR or rapid test result on arrival in Greece, Athens announced Sunday. Travelers from Russia will also have to undergo another test as soon as they arrive.

June 25

— Moscow authorities reimposed work-from-home restrictions Friday as the Russian capital posted a new daily record for Covid-19 deaths due to a surging outbreak of the Delta variant. In a decree published on his website, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin ordered that businesses cut their number of in-office workers by 30% from June 28. Vaccinated employees would be excluded, the decree said, adding that all workers aged over 65 as well as those with pre-existing conditions would have to work from home.

— Russia is investigating reports of the first Delta Plus coronavirus variant infections within its borders, the country’s consumer protection watchdog told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency. 

June 24

— Starting July 1, the Krasnodar region — where Russia's resort city of Sochi is located — will require all hotels and guest houses to obtain a negative PCR test or vaccination certificate from guests. Starting Aug. 1, the region will ban entry to resorts for unvaccinated vacationers. 

— Moscow authorities announced they'll allow access to summer cafes and verandas without a QR code proving vaccination until July 12. Under-18s will also be able to enter “Covid-free” restaurants and cafes without QR codes.

June 23

— Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that 130,000 Russians are currently hospitalized with Covid-19 and another 519,000 confirmed or suspected Covid-19 patients are under doctors' supervision. Just 15% of Russia's hospital beds are unoccupied, Murashko said.

— The republic of Buryatia in Siberia has become the first Russian region to announce a new coronavirus lockdown, with all non-essential shops and businesses ordered to close from June 27-July 11.

— From June 28, all Moscow cafes and restaurants will only serve customers who have been vaccinated; who have had Covid-19 in the past six months; or who present a negative Covid-19 test taken within the past 78 hours. 

— The mayor of the southern city of Krasnodar has said he will withhold bonuses and allowances from unvaccinated city administration employees if they fall ill with the coronavirus.

— Russia will resume regular air travel with the following countries from June 28: the United States, Italy, Cyprus, North Macedonia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Jordan and Ireland, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova announced Friday. Citizens of China and Lichtenstein will also be permitted to enter the country.

— Regular flights with Turkey will resume June 22, Golikova said.

June 18

— Nearly 90% of Moscow's new infections are the Delta variant of the coronavirus first detected in India, Mayor Sobyanin said.

— Moscow hospitals will no longer provide routine treatment to unvaccinated patients unless they require emergency care or treatment for cancer or blood diseases, officials announced. Patients with medical exemptions for vaccination will still be able to be treated.

— The Kremlin blamed "nihilism" for the lack of vaccine uptake that has helped spur a new surge in infections.

— Moscow has extended its coronavirus restrictions until June 29, Mayor Sobyanin announcedOutdoor theaters, playgrounds, food courts, children’s playrooms in malls, and zoos will remain closed through June 29. Restaurants and bars must close from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Theaters, movie theaters, museums and other cultural venues will only be able to serve 1,000 people at a time. Fan zones, dance floors and other venues for mass events will be closed.

— At least 17 regions of Russia have reintroduced Covid-19 restrictions.

— The Leningrad region that surrounds St. Petersburg has ordered mandatory vaccination for 80% of service workers, while the Tula region has ordered mandatory vaccination for at-risk groups.

June 17

— The spread of the Delta variant, first detected in India, across Russia has “seriously increased” in the last two weeks, Russian health authorities said.

— Russia could allow pregnant women to start receiving the coronavirus vaccine within the next one to two weeks, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said.

June 16

— Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced mandatory vaccination for service sector workers, saying the measure is necessary as the city grapples with 12,000 hospitalized Covid-19 patients and levels of illness equal to last year's peaks.

— Sobyanin also announced that the city has overturned its ban on sitting on park benches.

— Russia has extended its moratorium on deportations of foreigners with expired visas for another three months due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a last-minute decree President Vladimir Putin signed Tuesday.

— The developers of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine are studying the jab’s effectiveness against the so-called “Moscow strain” of the virus, they told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency. 

June 14

— Authorities in St. Petersburg, which is hosting a series of Euro 2020 matches, said Monday they were tightening anti-coronavirus restrictions in an effort to curb a new spike in infections. From Thursday food courts and children's play areas in shopping malls in Russia's second city will be closed, and no food will be sold at Euro-2020 fan zones, authorities said in a statement.

June 13

— Universities in Moscow have been advised to switch their students to remote learning by the Science and Higher Education Ministry.

— Moscow authorities announced a “non-working week” from June 15-19 in an attempt to curb the growing number of infections. After that, businesses are advised to transfer at least 30% of their unvaccinated to working from home.

— Bars, clubs and restaurants in Moscow will be closed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. from June 13-20.

—As the city’s vaccination rate remains low, Moscow residents who receive their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine from June 14 to July 11 will be entered into a prize draw to win an automobile — with five cars a week up for grabs, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said.

June 11

—  Moscow authorities announced Wednesday plans to reopen field hospitals and step up mask and glove enforcement as the epicenter of Russia’s outbreak reported its highest number of new cases since the start of 2021.

—  Brazil has approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for import and emergency use in several states, reversing its April decision to ban imports of the jab, its developers have said 

—  Russia recorded one of its lowest monthly jumps in fatalities since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in April, according to official statistics published Friday.

June 5

— Another 1 million Muscovites will be vaccinated against coronavirus by the end of the year, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin says. So far, the city has vaccinated 1.3 million people in roughly six months.

— Serbia is starting to produce Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, President Aleksandar Vucic said on Friday, the first European nation outside Russia and Belarus to take the step.

June 4

— Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko on Wednesday ruled out compulsory Covid-19 vaccination in Russia, saying it would be a "gross violation of the law."

— Health officials in the Omsk region in Siberia announced they will give free tickets to the Omsk State Circus to the first 1,000 people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 at the circus' vaccination station between June 2 and July 11.

— Russia will resume flights with the United Kingdom — along with regular flights to seven other countries from June 10 — but will extend travel restrictions to Turkey for another three weeks.

May 31

—Israel has prohibited its citizens and residents from traveling to Russia until at least June 13 after placing the country on a travel blacklist, the Israeli Ministry of Health said.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund said it has signed a supply agreement with the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). 220 million doses of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine will be delivered to UNICEF once the vaccine receives WHO Emergency Use Listing. 

May 28

— Russia’s Health Ministry’s Ethics Committee did not grant approval for phase-two and -three clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine that combines Russia’s Sputnik V and AstraZeneca developed by Oxford University, the Pharmvestnik medical news website reported.

May 26 

— Russia has started mass vaccination of pets against the coronavirus, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing Rosselkhoznadzor representative. Cornivac-Cov vaccine, the world’s first coronavirus vaccine for pets, is available in public and private veterinary clinics across several regions of Russia. 

— Slovakia has approved Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the jab's developer confirmed Wednesday. The country is set to become the second EU member to use Sputnik V for large-scale inoculation.

May 25 

— Russia resumed flights with Iceland, Malta, Mexico, Portugal and Saudi Arabia on May 25, state-run TASS news agency reported, citing Russia's coronavirus response center. Also starting that day, Russia will increase its number of flights with South Korea, Finland and Japan.

— Regional authorities in Russia's republic of Sakha (formerly Yakutia) have reversed their earlier decision to introduce compulsory vaccination against the coronavirus, according to information published on a government website. The authorities had initially announced that vaccination would be mandatory for certain groups of citizens, and regional employers who failed to administer coronavirus vaccines to workers could face monetary penalties.

— Russia has made deals to sell more than 205 million doses of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine across 45 countries, Forbes Russia reported. Over 16,3 million doses, or 8% of all orders, have been delivered abroad so far with Argentina receiving the biggest share, with 6,5 million doses, or 40% of all Russia’s vaccine exports. 

May 20 

— More than 550 people in Russia have been found to have a more contagious U.K. strain of the coronavirus, Rospotrebnazor head Anna Popova said in an interview with the Rossiya-1 television channel. Another 10 patients were confirmed to have the Indian variant of the virus, while tens of patients have been infected with the South African variant.

May 19 

— Russia’s former Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has expressed support for compulsory vaccinations Wednesday as the country grapples with slower-than-hoped-for coronavirus vaccine uptake.

May 17 

— Russia has registered cases of a rare and deadly fungal infection afflicting current and former coronavirus patients that has been on the rise in virus-stricken India, the pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper reported.

May 16 

— 42% of Russians refuse to get vaccinated against the coronavirus under any circumstances, the SuperJob.ru job portal said in a survey published Sunday. 

May 14

— Moscow has reported 3,818 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily count since January, as Russia returned from an extended non-working period designed to prevent a third wave of the pandemic.

May 13

— Russia has confirmed the first cases of the Indian coronavirus mutation within its borders, the Kommersant business daily reported, citing the regional consumer protection watchdog.

May 12

— More than 14 million Russians — 10% of the population — have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, with 10 million having received both doses, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the number of those vaccinated was increasing, though not as fast as the authorities would like. President Vladimir Putin said that Russia had vaccinated some 21.5 million people so far. 

— The majority of Russians (62%) are still not ready to be vaccinated with their country’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, according to a poll by the independent Levada Center published Wednesday.  

May 11

— Putin said he has tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies four weeks after receiving the second dose of one of Russia's vaccines, with a positivity coefficient of 15.

— A Hungarian lab has confirmed that the first batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine sent to Slovakia was satisfactory, Reuters reported, citing a Slovakia health ministry spokeswoman. 

— Mass prayer services for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, will be banned in Moscow due to the coronavirus, the Russian Spiritual Administration of Muslims said.

May 5

— The makers of Russia’s third coronavirus vaccine CoviVak said their tests of a live polio vaccine for preventing Covid-19 have proven effective.

— The makers of Russia’s second approved coronavirus vaccine EpiVacCorona are studying third doses to boost recipients' immune response, a senior scientist said.

AFP contributed reporting.

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