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Russia discourages domestic travel to curb Covid surges

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Russian officials have struggled to convince their vaccine-skeptical population to vaccinate

Moscow:

The Kremlin on Wednesday cautioned Russians against traveling during a non-working period ordered by Moscow to prevent a spike in coronavirus infections and deaths.

President Vladimir Putin last week ordered a week-long paid holiday between October 30 and November 7 to address rising infections in the country, which has been worst hit in Europe.

News agencies cited surveys as one-third of Russians plan to travel during non-working periods, and the mayor of the Black Sea resort city of Sochi has warned of a huge influx of tourists.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that travel restrictions were not imposed next week, but that it could affect the spread of the virus.

“Epidemiologists have raised concerns that many people are planning to travel and travel,” Peskov said, adding that the Kremlin hopes non-working days “will help improve the epidemiological situation”.

He said the closure of borders between regions was “undesirable” and constituted a “last resort”.

Sochi Mayor Alexei Kopygorodsky said about a million tourists were planning to visit his city.

He warned visitors that they would have to show a negative Covid test or vaccine certificate at the hotels.

Crimea’s Sevastopol region, which was annexed by the Kremlin in 2014 and is another popular holiday destination, has set up checkpoints for those visiting PCR tests and checking vaccine certificates.

Meanwhile St Petersburg has closed almost all public places and banned cultural and sporting events. The capital Moscow will also shut down its non-essential services.

Russian officials have struggled to persuade their vaccine-skeptical population to get vaccinated, even though many vaccines have been freely available for months.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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