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Daily COVID deaths in Russia hit new high; most Russians ordered to stay home for a week

Employees of the Federal State Center for Special Risk Rescue Operations of Russia Emergency Situations prepare to disinfect Savyolovsky railway station in Moscow, Russia, October 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Employees of the Federal State Center for Special Risk Rescue Operations of Russia Emergency Situations prepare to disinfect Savyolovsky railway station in Moscow, Russia, October 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

MOSCOW — The daily number of COVID-19 deaths in Russia hits another high today amid a surge in infections that has forced the Kremlin to order most Russians to stay off work starting this week.

The national coronavirus task force reports 1,106 deaths in 24 hours, the most since the start of the pandemic. The number brings the country’s pandemic death toll to 232,775, Europe’s biggest by far.

Russia registered 36,446 new daily coronavirus cases, slightly fewer compared to the past few days.

In a move intended to stem the spread of the virus, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a nonworking period between October 30 and November 7, when the country will observe an extended holiday.

During that time, most state organizations and private businesses are to suspend operations, and most stores will close along with kindergartens, schools, gyms and most entertainment venues. Restaurants and cafes will only be open for takeout or delivery orders. Food stores, pharmacies and businesses operating key infrastructure can stay open.

Access to museums, theaters, concert halls and other venues will be limited to people holding digital codes on their smartphones to prove they have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19, a practice that will remain in place after November 7.

Putin has told local officials to order unvaccinated people older than 60 to stay home and to close nightclubs and other entertainment venues.

Authorities also have moved to strengthen the enforcement of mask mandates on public transportation and in indoor venues, which have been loosely observed.

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