Moscow reopens museums and terraces as it rolls back coronavirus curbs
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Residents of Moscow were able to return to museums and summer terraces on Tuesday for the first time in more than two months as the Russian capital rolled back more coronavirus curbs despite continuing to record over 1,000 new daily infections.
Starting on Tuesday, museums, libraries and zoos in the city of nearly 13 million are reopening their doors, albeit with continued limits on the number of visitors at any one time. Dentists are getting back to business too.
Authorities are allowing sporting events to resume, though spectators must take up no more than 10% of a given venue’s capacity.
Moscow began to lift its lockdown last week, allowing residents to leave their homes, freely use public transport and travel across the city in their vehicles without any restrictions.
Kremlin critics have accused authorities of lifting restrictions too fast to pave the way for a nationwide vote on reforms that would allow President Vladimir Putin to run again for president twice after 2024 when his current term ends.
Voting will take place over a period of seven days, culminating on July 1. The Kremlin has denied decisions to ease curbs were politically-motivated.
The mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, said on Monday it was time to further ease restrictions because the pandemic was on the wane and pressure on the city’s health system was easing.
Moscow has been the area worst-affected by the pandemic in Russia, which has the third highest number of cases in the world with more than half a million infections, something authorities attribute to a huge testing programme which has seen over 15 million tests carried out so far.
Moscow has recorded 208,680 infections and 3,386 deaths.
Updated nationwide figures released on Tuesday said the overall tally of coronavirus cases across Russia had reached 545,458 and the total number of deaths 7,284, a much lower figure than many other countries.
The accuracy of Russia’s mortality figures has been the focus of intense debate.
Reporting and photo: Reuters