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Moscow announces a permit system to regulate movement within the city under lockdown

Source: Meduza
Vladimir Gerdo / TASS / Scanpix / LETA

Beginning Monday, April 13, Russia’s capital will gradually begin introducing a permit system to control movement throughout the city, according to an announcement by Mayor Sergey Sobyanin on Friday evening, April 10. “In the first stage, we will introduce [permits] for people commuting to work. In the second stage, it will apply to travel for other purposes. In the third stage, if necessary, it will be for movement within a city district,” Sobyanin explained in a recorded address. Andrey Vorobyov, the governor of the Moscow region, later announced similar measures.

It’s still unclear how the permit system will work. Sobyanin said nothing about the actual implementation of the city’s new restrictions, indicating that the system will be “declarative” in nature, meaning that residents only need to inform the city of relevant travel plans, though the authorities reserve the right to “verify” information provided by members of the public. Meanwhile, Governor Vorobyov has promised a system that is “as convenient as possible,” saying that state officials have developed a platform where residents will need to register to receive passes. “We’ll be acting carefully in stages. And even if you don’t register and don’t have a QR-code, it won’t be a problem if you have identification and a certificate from your place of work,” explained the governor.

The majority of enterprises will shut down next week. Mayor Sobyanin is also shutting down even more organizations across the city. For the next week, all that will be allowed to operate are “continuous-cycle” enterprises and businesses vital to the city’s functioning. State agencies, communications firms, public transportation, and banks will also remain open, though Sobyanin has instructed these organizations to transfer as many employees as possible to remote work.

Moscow is allocating additional resources to treatment for COVID-19 patients. The mayor says 25 hospitals have already been reassigned to receive coronavirus patients and another 25 facilities are on the way. The city is also creating outpatient centers to treat COVID-19 patients at 40 different health clinics outfitted with CT-scan equipment. 

Sobyanin says the new measures are necessary because Moscow’s epidemiological situation is deteriorating. According to the mayor, the number of patients admitted to local hospitals with pneumonia has doubled since the start of the week to more than 1,000 people a day. “Most patients arrive before they’re diagnosed with coronavirus in lab tests. Through clinical analysis and X-ray diagnostics, however, doctors see that it’s highly likely that this is the coronavirus. This trajectory in the increase of infections doesn’t bode well for us,” warned Mayor Sobyanin.

Text by Grigory Levchenko

Translation by Kevin Rothrock

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