The situation in Moscow is getting worse. Citizens must now register every trip beforehand.
– So far, the Moscow authorities have faced the dilemma of wanting to deter; after all, residents should stick to the curfew. On the other hand, it shouldn’t appear that Moscow is growing the corona crisis over their heads. But the situation is now coming to a head, and Mayor Sergei Sobyanin leaves no doubt about it. The number of infected people had not reached the summit, he said, “rather at the foot of this summit, not even in the middle”. On Monday, President Vladimir Putin also admitted that the situation in the country is deteriorating. The Kremlin chief said the next few weeks would be crucial at a working meeting.
The rules for self-isolation will be tightened from Wednesday. Then all Muscovites who want to go somewhere by car, bus or taxi must register this with the city beforehand. Journeys to the doctor, supermarket or the workplace are permitted if you are indispensable there. In a second step, this digital pass system can be extended to include footpaths. Even now you are only allowed to come to the door with good reason because you have to take out the garbage, shop or lead the dog around the house.
1,300 people with pneumonia have to go to the clinic every day
The Muscovites have to register with the authorities for the new system. For every way out, you will receive a code by email or SMS. The police can check how long the digital pass is valid and who applied for it. Already on Monday, residents made about 900,000 such requests, the city’s website was temporarily overloaded.
According to Sobjanin, the curfew alone is no longer sufficient. The number of seriously ill people with pneumonia is rising rapidly, said the mayor. 1,300 patients are now admitted to Moscow clinics every day, up from 500 a day. Most of them are now treated as COVID 19 cases without a test. There had been criticism of the Russian test because it may not have recognized too many infected people. The official number of people affected is now more than 18,000, of which 11,500 are in Moscow alone.
The authorities there are now warning of overload: The hospitals and emergency services are working “on the border,” said Moscow’s deputy mayor Anastassija Rakowa on Friday. Last week, a video circulated on the Internet showing an endless line of waiting ambulances. They were stuck in front of the entrance to a Moscow hospital for up to nine hours, according to Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. The head of the Moscow health department, Alexei Chripun, commented on Sunday: The ambulances brought patients to places where there were free beds and they were not distributed evenly.
Sobranie plans to double the number of clinics admitting COVID 19 patients. So far there are 25 in Moscow – little for a city with 12.5 million inhabitants. According to the city’s Corona working group, 6,500 patients with the virus are currently hospitalized, and almost half of those infected are younger than 45, according to official figures. Even Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko spoke of the fact that all areas of the health care system had “stress” when it came to the necessary resources, such as protective clothing and respirators. At the beginning of April, President Putin had sent ventilators to the United States for publicity.
There are also worrying reports from some regions: A hospital in Ufa was quarantined after 170 people – patients and staff – tested positive there. Six hospitals were isolated in Syktyvkar, the capital of the sparsely populated Komi Republic of Northern Russia. But while Moscow is tightening the measures, many regions are already loosening them up, letting more people work, opening more shops. Putin had released all Russians by the end of the month. Later, however, he gave the governors responsibility for what measures they implement in their region.
Moscow now controls more closely who comes into the city from outside. Conversely, Muscovites are no longer so welcome outside the capital: in some regions, they now have to be quarantined for two weeks when they come to visit.