MOSCOW: Work-from-home restrictions were re-imposed in Moscow on Monday as Russia tried to contain a deadly coronavirus wave fuelled by the Delta variant, while several Asian nations also tightened curbs to contain growing outbreaks.
While many wealthy countries have brought down infections through rapid vaccinations, outbreaks are still raging from Bangladesh and Indonesia to South America — many fuelled by the highly contagious Delta variant that was first detected in India.
Russia has seen an explosion of new cases in the last two weeks because of this variant, with its largest cities Moscow and Saint Petersburg posting record deaths on Monday for the second consecutive day.
Authorities have pushed vaccine-sceptic citizens to get a shot in a bid to stem the outbreak.
“To stop the pandemic, one thing is needed: rapid, large-scale vaccinations,” Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin told state TV on Saturday.
WHO describes the new variant as most contagious
“Nobody has invented any other solution.” From Monday, people will have to work from home in Moscow — the epicentre of Russia’s outbreak — with exceptions for vaccinated employees.
They will also have to present a QR code to enter restaurants, certifying that they are either vaccinated, have had Covid-19 in the last six months, or have a valid negative test.
The outbreak in Russia — already one of the worst-hit nations in the world — has also caused alarm because of the ongoing Euro 2020 football tournament, which has seen thousands of fans attend matches in different countries across the continent.
The Delta variant is now in 85 countries and is the most contagious of any identified so far, according to the World Health Organisation.