Vladimir Putin orders one-week paid shutdown for Russian workers as COVID-19 cases and deaths rise

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the State Council's meeting at Grand Kremlin Palace on December 26, 2019 in Moscow, Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a one-week shutdown for workers as the country grapples with rising COVID-19 cases and deaths. Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
  • Vladimir Putin ordered a paid, weeklong shutdown as Russia faces rising COVID-19 cases and deaths.
  • Russia hit a daily record with 34,073 new cases and 1,028 deaths on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
  • Only about a third of Russian citizens are fully vaccinated.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a one-week paid shutdown for Russian workers as COVID-19 cases and deaths rise.

In a record-breaking week, the country reported 1,028 deaths on October 20 along with 34,073 new cases, Reuters reported. About 47.5 million Russians have been fully vaccinated, which amounts to only a third of the country’s population, Insider’s Marianne Guenot reported.

Putin approved a week of paid “non-working days” from October 30 to November 7, adding that the dates can be extended in areas that need it as “the epidemiological situation is developing differently in each region,” according to Reuters.

“Our main task now is to protect the lives of citizens and, as far as possible, minimize the spread of Covid-19 infections,” Putin said according to the state-run outlet RT News.

Russia’s death toll since the beginning of the pandemic stands at 226,353 people, The Moscow Times reported.

Earlier in the week, Moscow’s mayor ordered all of the city’s unvaccinated residents over 60 years old and those who are unvaccinated and “suffering from chronic diseases” to stay home until February 2022, CNN reported.

Russian epidemiologist Vasily Vlassov told CNN that Russian “hospitals are overwhelmed.”

“This is still very high morbidity and mortality,” Vlassov, a former World Health Organization adviser, told the outlet. “High morbidity in Russia is seen as a sign of failure of the state and society.”

COVID-19 vaccines protect against severe disease and death, and while Russia has four of its own vaccine options, the country is struggling to get citizens to overcome skepticism and take the shot. Studies have suggested that the flagship Russian Sputnik V vaccines have similar effectiveness to those made by Pfizer and Moderna.

“There are only two options at this point in time – you can get sick or you can get vaccinated. But it’s better to be vaccinated,” Putin said per RT News. “Why would you wait for the disease and its consequences?”