Russian regions tighten COVID-19 measures, step up hospital capacity

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Several Russian regions tightened coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday and said they were increasing hospital capacity for an influx of patients after a steep rise in COVID-19 cases.

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Authorities reported more than 14,700 infections on Sunday, the largest one-day tally since February. Over the weekend, St Petersburg, which is hosting matches in the Euro 2020 soccer finals, and Moscow said they were imposing new curbs.

The local government in the far eastern region of Primorye said on Tuesday two hospitals would open in coming days in the cities of Ussuriysk and Vladivostok, and that they had created hundreds of new beds since April to treat COVID-19 patients.

“We’re now seeing a similar pattern to last year’s spring wave. First there was an increase in Europe, a few weeks later in central Russia, and 2-3 weeks after that in large cities of Primorye,” said the local health minister.

The region of Buryatia in eastern Siberia said it needed more intensive care beds after a rise in cases this month.

Public areas including parks, squares and swimming pools would be closed until July 1, authorities in Buryatia said. Sports in gyms and indoor and outdoor facilities were suspended.

In the oil-producing Siberian region of Yugra, authorities banned large public events of more than 20 people. It said workers returning to the region from June 20 would have to first test negative for COVID-19 or show they have been vaccinated.

In the Arctic region of Murmansk, restaurants were banned from working overnight and a third of state employees were told to work remotely, the RIA news agency reported.

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