December 3, 2021

Delta variant accounts for 90% of Moscow’s new Covid-19 cases, says mayor, Europe News & Top Stories

MOSCOW (REUTERS, AFP) – Ninety per cent of newly detected Covid-19 cases in Moscow are being registered as the more contagious Delta variant of the virus, the Russian capital’s mayor, Mr Sergei Sobyanin, said on Wednesday (June 23).

The spike in Covid-19 cases caused by the variant first detected in India also prompted France to add Russia to its list of countries from which non-essential travel is banned.

Mr Sobyanin said Moscow’s healthcare system was operating “close to its capacity” after the spike which prompted him to introduce fresh restrictions in the city of 13 million as well as tough measures to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Aimed at increasing Russia’s slow vaccination rate, the new steps, including ordering all public-facing workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19, are also driving some people towards the online black market in fake vaccination certificates.

Advertisements for illegal false certificates are easily found on the Telegram messenger app, targeting unvaccinated Russians who want to avoid shots but keep their jobs. Prices are rising fast and demand appears to be growing.

Moscow health authorities say they are watching closely but have not yet identified any false certificates.

Five months into the vaccination campaign, only 18 million Russians out of a population of about 144 million had received at least one vaccine dose by June 2.

Last week, city authorities in Moscow gave employers in public services a month to ensure 60 per cent of their staff had been vaccinated or face a fine.

This week, Moscow’s mayor ordered bars and restaurants in the capital to serve people only if they have been vaccinated or have had an infection indicating immunity.

Unvaccinated people are to be refused non-emergency hospital treatment.

Within days of the warning to Moscow public-service employers, Google searches for “buy a vaccination certificate” in the Moscow area increased 10-fold, said data analyst Boris Ovchinnikov, co-founder of an internet analytics agency.

Searches for where to get a shot in Moscow rose by only 2.5 times, he said.

A public sector worker who bought illegal fake certificates for himself and his wife two months ago said they had paid 5,000 roubles (S$93) each. They were also entered on the official online register of vaccinated people, he said.

Last week, his colleague approached the same black market seller, he said, but was told the price had risen to at least 15,000 roubles.

Another Moscow resident was offered a certificate and an entry on the official online register for 10,000 roubles, a screenshot of the exchange, shared with Reuters, showed. The seller added 2,000 roubles for delivery to the buyer’s door.

Many Russians have resisted the government’s attempts to coax and compel them to get a vaccine.

At just one-eighth of the population, the vaccination rate is far lower than in most Western countries even though Russia has produced its own Covid-19 vaccine, the Sputnik V.

Russians often cite a fear of new medical products and their fears are compounded by widespread mistrust of the authorities and negative media reports about foreign-made vaccines.

One woman who said she bought a fake certificate in May and also received an entry in the official register via a doctor acquaintance said she believed the vaccine dose she should have taken was poured away.

Moscow police said in a statement last Friday they had opened 24 criminal cases against producers of fake vaccination certificates.

Anyone caught providing such certificates would be subject to criminal proceedings, the Department of Health said.

A survey of more than 1,600 company managers in Moscow and the Moscow region by the Action-MCFR consultancy found that more one in four believed vaccination should not be mandatory and wanted to avoid complying with the order.

About 6 per cent said they would resort to fake certificates to get around the problem.

in World
Related Posts

Fatal shooting of 15 people was terrorist attack, says Haiti govt, World News & Top Stories

July 2, 2021

July 2, 2021

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (AFP) – Fifteen people were shot to death this week in Haiti, including a journalist and an opposition...

Saudi Arabia releases two women activists, says rights group, Europe News & Top Stories

June 27, 2021

June 27, 2021

LONDON (REUTERS) – Saudi Arabia has released two women’s rights activists detained nearly three years ago after they had served...

G-7 criticises nations who undermine global trade in rallying cry for reform, Europe News & Top Stories

May 28, 2021

May 28, 2021

LONDON (REUTERS) – Trade ministers from the Group of Seven (G-7) wealthy nations criticised countries who undermine the global trading...

Turkey’s Erdogan announces new Black Sea gas find, Middle East News & Top Stories

June 4, 2021

June 4, 2021

ISTANBUL (AFP) – President Recept Tayyip Erdogan on Friday (June 4) announced a new natural gas discovery in the Black...

US Covid-19 cases and deaths drop to lowest levels in nearly a year, United States News & Top Stories

May 24, 2021

May 24, 2021

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) – The United States is adding fewer than 30,000 Covid-19 cases a day for the first time...

Families divided over Covid-19 vaccinations and masks in the United States, United States News & Top Stories

June 5, 2021

June 5, 2021

WASHINGTON – Physical therapist Aimee Schuh, 31, will get married in September in an outdoor ceremony in South Carolina, after...

Johnson’s plan to open UK economy gets boost from Covid-19 vaccine data, Europe News & Top Stories

May 24, 2021

May 24, 2021

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to unlock the British economy appears on track after data showing Covid-19...

While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 27, World News & Top Stories

May 26, 2021

May 26, 2021

Biden orders review of Covid-19 origins as lab leak theory debated President Joe Biden ordered aides to determine the origin...

Jill Biden will be on the cover of Vogue, United States News & Top Stories

June 29, 2021

June 29, 2021

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) – The White House appears to be back in Vogue’s good graces. Jill Biden, the First Lady,...

Erdogan inaugurates major new mosque in heart of Istanbul, Middle East News & Top Stories

May 29, 2021

May 29, 2021

ISTANBUL (REUTERS) – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated an imposing new mosque in Istanbul on Friday (May 28), fulfilling a decades-old goal...

Possible failure point emerges in Miami building collapse, United States News & Top Stories

June 28, 2021

June 28, 2021

SURFSIDE, FLORIDA (NYTIMES) – The investigation into what may be the deadliest accidental building collapse in American history has just...

9-year-old boy succumbs to injuries; death toll from Houston concert stampede rises to 10, United States News & Top Stories

November 15, 2021

November 15, 2021

HOUSTON (REUTERS) – An attorney for the family of a nine-year-old boy who was trampled at a Travis Scott concert in...

Investors, court deliver ‘stark warning for Big Oil’ on climate, World News & Top Stories

May 27, 2021

May 27, 2021

HOUSTON (REUTERS) – Shareholders rebuked the top two US oil companies on Wednesday (May 26) for dragging their feet on...

Mexico accuses Zara, Anthropologie, Patowl of cultural appropriation, World News & Top Stories

May 30, 2021

May 30, 2021

MEXICO CITY (REUTERS) – Mexico has accused international fashion brands Zara, Anthropologie, and Patowl of cultural appropriation, saying they used...

Scientist finds early Covid-19 sequences that had been mysteriously deleted, World News & Top Stories

June 24, 2021

June 24, 2021

SEATTLE (NYTIMES) – About a year ago, genetic sequences from more than 200 virus samples from early cases of Covid-19...