Moscow to toughen enforcement of COVID-19 rules as cases rise

·2-min read
Medical workers are seen at a mobile coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination centre in a dacha community in Moscow Region

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Authorities in Moscow said on Wednesday they would step up enforcement of rules requiring people to wear medical masks and gloves in indoor public spaces due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases in the Russian capital.

Russia on Wednesday reported 10,407 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, its highest number of daily infections since early March. In Moscow, there were 4,124 infections, creeping past the 4,000 mark for the first time since mid-January.

"The epidemiological situation is worsening in Moscow, the number of cases is rising," RIA news agency quoted city official Yevgeny Danchikov as saying.

"The enforcement of the use of personal protective equipment by people in public places, including on public transport, on the metro and at entertainment centres, ... will increase."

Muscovites are required to wear masks and gloves on public transport, in taxis and in places like shopping malls, but the rules are not strictly enforced.

People without personal protective equipment can face fines.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin -- who last month remarked on how few residents had chosen to get vaccinated against COVID-19 despite free and easy access to shots -- said on Wednesday the city of more than 12 million was not planning to impose a fresh lockdown.

The government coronavirus task force said on Wednesday that 399 people had died nationwide as a result of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 124,895.

The federal statistics agency has kept a separate toll and said that Russia recorded around 270,000 deaths related to COVID-19 between April 2020 and April 2021.

Russia, home to around 145 million people, has recorded more than 5.1 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.

(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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