Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin signed a decree extending the coronavirus restrictions from February 25 to April 1, 2022. We are talking about the requirements for employers to transfer at least 30% of employees to a remote mode, as well as for citizens over 60 years old and people with chronic diseases to maintain home mode. The extension of restrictions in the capital’s mayor’s office is associated with the spread of the omicron strain of COVID-19. Officials predict an increase in the incidence, but hope for a lower load on hospitals than in the case of the “delta”, due to the milder course of the disease.
The extension of the current coronavirus restrictions is regulated by the decree of Sergei Sobyanin No. 2-UM. The document amends another decree of the mayor and concerns restrictions on two points – the requirements for employers to transfer 30% of employees to remote work and for citizens over 60 and people with chronic diseases to maintain home mode.
“The world is facing a new challenge — a new strain of COVID-19 omicron. In many countries, we are seeing rapid surges in the incidence. Unfortunately, in Moscow today, “omicron” already dominates the structure of morbidity, almost completely displacing the “delta”,” the mayor explains the need to extend the restrictions in his blog. According to Mr. Sobyanin, the restrictions have shown themselves well and it is premature to abandon them. The mayor cited data on the doubling of the number of detected diseases per week (from 2.8 thousand to 5.7 thousand cases per day), and on January 18 it exceeded 8 thousand people.
However, Mr. Sobyanin hastened to reassure the citizens, assuring that in most cases the disease caused by the omicron strain of COVID-19 “occurs in a milder form” and “the number of hospitalizations remains relatively small.” “If in the summer-autumn of 2021, with 5 thousand positive tests in Moscow, about 1.5 thousand people were hospitalized, now it is 750-800 people a day,” the mayor explained in a blog post, expressing hope that this trend will continue.
Nevertheless, Mr. Sobyanin explained, Moscow does not rule out that “the situation will change for the worse” and in this case, the city “keeps a “hot reserve” of free coronavirus beds.”
“We have a few tough weeks ahead of us. But we have coped with the previous waves of the pandemic. I’m sure we can handle the omicron,” the mayor concluded.
“We will plan other restrictions only based on the situation with the overload of the medical system. As long as it copes, in my opinion, there is no need to introduce any restrictive additional measures, limiting ourselves to those that have already been taken,” Mr. Sobyanin said during a meeting of the coordinating council under the government of the Russian Federation to combat coronavirus.
The authorities are actively preparing for the load on the outpatient link. Polyclinics will certainly accept people with symptoms of coronavirus on the day of treatment, the mayor promised. The number of doctors on duty in polyclinics has been increased. “They work every day, seven days a week,” Mr. Sobyanin said, noting that the clinic’s employees are taking the necessary measures to prevent the flow of healthy patients and those infected with the coronavirus from crossing. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said that the quarantine period for those infected with coronavirus is being reduced from two weeks to one.
Coronavirus restrictions were last introduced in Moscow in October 2021. In particular, the mayor established that from October 25, 2021 to February 25, 2022, Muscovites over the age of 60 and citizens suffering from chronic diseases “must again observe the home regime – at their place of permanent residence or in garden plots.” Mr. Sobyanin emphasized that walks and physical education in the fresh air are not limited. Elderly and chronically ill Muscovites who have been ill with COVID-19 in the past six months or have been vaccinated are exempted from restrictions.
During the same period, employers in Moscow were ordered to telecommute at least 30% of the total number of employees, as well as all employees over 60 years of age and suffering from chronic diseases. The requirement to switch to remote work does not apply to vaccinated and recovered workers, as well as to employees of medical organizations, defense enterprises, Rosatom, Roskosmos and some other strategic industries.