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Moscow Mayor Extends School Holidays As Virus Cases Soar


A man wearing a face mask to protect against the coronavirus disease walks past a poster reading “The town of Chekhov” in the town of Chekhov, some 70 km outside Moscow, on September 29, 2020. (Photo by Yuri KADOBNOV / AFP)


Moscow’s mayor announced on Tuesday that school holidays will be extended as an anti-coronavirus measure as infections increase in the Russian capital.

The move comes as Moscow has seen cases of Covid-19 rise swiftly in the second half of September, from around 700 a day to 2,300 on Tuesday.

Russia, which has seen the fourth-largest number of cases in the world, registered a total of 8,232 new cases on Tuesday.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in his blog that holidays starting next Monday will last two weeks instead of one in all the city’s schools, citing “growth in confirmed infections with Covid-19”.

He said that parents should ensure children stay at home or play outside nearby and do not go to shopping malls or use public transport.

He said that “a significant number of those who have been infected, often without symptoms, are children,” and are then passing the infection to older relatives.

“Let’s use the holidays as an opportunity to flatten the virus curve and preserve our health,” he said.

From Monday this week, Sobyanin has told Muscovites over 65 to stay at home and only go out for unavoidable work commitments or to do tasks such as shopping.

The current measures are much milder than the height of lockdown when people needed passes to travel around the city and were banned from walking in parks.

Russia has confirmed 1.2 million coronavirus cases and 20,545 deaths.

President Vladimir Putin on Monday said that “the battle with the epidemic is far from over… We must not relax or lose alertness.”

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Moscow announced approval for the world’s first coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, in August, although it is still undergoing large-scale clinical trials.

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