Russia Extends Ban On Mass Gatherings, Including Schools Till Jan. 1, 2022 as COVID-19 cases rises

Russia Extends Ban On Mass Gatherings, Including Schools Till Jan. 1, 2022 as COVID-19 cases rises



In order to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Russia has extended the ban on mass gatherings, including schools and extracurricular clubs, until Jan. 1, 2022.


A ban on mass gatherings at Russian schools was first imposed in June  and was set to expire on Jan. 1, 2021 but a new decree published Monday, Dec 7, and signed by Russia's chief sanitary doctor, Anna Popova, has now extended the ban. 


The ban also applies to sports organizations and other social infrastructure for children and youth with only Universities and colleges exempted from the ban.


Russia's coronavirus response headquarters said Tuesday, Dec 8, it had confirmed 26,097 new cases of COVID-19 as well as 562 deaths from the disease in the past 24 hours. The country's cumulative total currently stands at 2,515,009 confirmed cases with 44,159 deaths.


Despite the growing number of infections and deaths, Russian authorities have repeatedly said they have no plans to impose another nationwide lockdown.


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The Eastern European country has the fourth-highest tally of COVID-19 cases in the world, behind only the United States, India and Brazil, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.


A couple in India has done the impossible, getting married in a full COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) suit at an isolation center after deciding to go through with their wedding after the bride had tested positive for COVID-19.


The Rajasthan couple became husband and wife on Sunday, December 6, in the courtyard of a coronavirus quarantine center in Baran while wearing full PPE including hazmat suits, face masks and visors. 


Local health official named Rajendra Meena who spoke to Reuters, says the couple it was their only chance after the bride and a few family members had tested positive for the coronavirus earlier that day and were admitted to the covid-19 isolation center.


“We consulted with the families and they agreed to get married in the quarantine center without any elaborate rituals” Meena said.


India has banned elaborate weddings and social gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

 

Meanwhile, the UK's mass coronavirus vaccination program has officially begun, with the drug developed by Pfizer and BioNTech injected into the shoulder of a 90-year-old grandmother called Margaret Keenan.


She received the injection during an appointment at her local hospital in Coventry in central England.


"I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19," Ms Keenan said.


"It's the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year."


About 800,000 doses are expected to be administered at 70 hospitals in the coming days, less than a week after Britain became the first Western nation to approve a vaccine against COVID-19.


UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the deployment of the vaccine meant there was "light at the end of the tunnel" for Britain, which has recorded more than 60,000 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.



"We will look back on today, V-day, as a key moment in our fightback against this terrible disease," he said.


Britain has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, just enough for about a third of the population as two shots of the drug are needed per person to gain immunity.


The rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be closely watched around the world because of the complicated steps required to store, distribute and administer the drug.


UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson took to social media to thank the country's National Health Service (NHS) and those who worked to develop the vaccine.


"Thank you to our NHS, to all of the scientists who worked so hard to develop this vaccine, to all the volunteers — and to everyone who has been following the rules to protect others," he wrote.


"We will beat this together."


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