3 Russian Regions Extend Non-Working Period By 1 Week After Report of 40K New COVID Cases

With COVID-19 infections rising, some regions in Russia have announced plans to extend their non-working periods by a week.

According to the Associated Press, Russia's coronavirus task force is reporting 40,443 new cases from the previous day, with 1,189 daily deaths attributed to COVID-19.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that many Russians would be required to stay home from work between October 30 and November 7. However, that period will be extended due to the increasing number of cases and deaths. Governors across the nation have advocated for the program's extension until COVID-19 cases drop.

"One non-working week is not enough to break the chain of infection," Tomsk Governor Sergei Zhvachkin said.

Some other restrictions continue to remain in place across the country. Older adults are ordered to stay at home and 30 percent of any business's staff has to work from home. Public venues such as theaters and museums are closed to those who have not been fully vaccinated, have already recovered from COVID-19, or are able to present a negative test.

Less than 35 percent of Russia's population, which consists of nearly 146 million people, are fully vaccinated from COVID-19. More than 8.6 million cases have been reported and over 242,000 deaths.

Russia has clarified that the statistics come from medical facilities and only include deaths where COVID-19 was the primary cause.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Russia COVID Deaths Rising
With COVID-19 infections rising, some regions in Russia have announced plans to extend their non-working periods by a week. Above, servicemen in Russia's Emergencies Ministry wear protective gear as they disinfect Moscow's Savelovsky railway station on October 26, 2021. (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

The 40,443 reported new cases was the fifth time in seven days that the country reported more than 40,000 infections.

Putin authorized regional governments to extend the number of non-working days, if necessary.

Officials in Russia's Novgorod region, located 500 kilometers (310 miles) northwest of Moscow, said Monday that the time away from workplaces would last another week. Four other regions—the Tomsk region in Siberia, the Chelyabinsk region in the Ural Mountains, and the Kursk and the Bryansk regions southwest of Moscow—followed suit Wednesday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that no decision on a possible nationwide extension has been made.

"If any other decisions are [made], we will inform you," Peskov said during a conference call with reporters.

In Moscow and the surrounding region, which together account for nearly 25 percent of new daily infections, the non-working period will not be extended beyond November 7, officials said.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said infection rates in the capital have "stabilized," and the governor of the Moscow region, Andrei Vorobyov, echoed his sentiment.

Russia's weekslong surge in infections and deaths comes amid low vaccination rates, lax public attitudes toward taking precautions, and the government's reluctance to toughen restrictions.

Russia approved a domestically developed vaccine against the coronavirus months before most countries.

Reports by Russia's state statistical service, Rosstat, that tally coronavirus-linked deaths, retroactively reveal much higher mortality numbers.

Rosstat uses wider criteria for counting virus-related deaths and takes its numbers from civil registry offices where the process of registering a death is finalized.

Russia COVID Hospital
A medical staffer wearing a special suit to protect against COVID-19 treats a patient with coronavirus at an ICU at the Regional Clinical Hospital 1, in Krasnodar, south Russia, on November 2, 2021. COVID-related deaths in Russia are increasing. AP Photo/Vitali Timkiv