Russia scraps remaining COVID restrictions

Russia scraps remaining COVID restrictions

Russia said on Friday it was ending all restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19, including the requirement to wear masks, citing a steady decline in deaths from the virus.

However, it did not rule out re-introducing restrictive measures if the situation deteriorates.

Consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said it was "suspending previously introduced restrictions, including the mask regime, a ban on public catering at night, and a number of other measures".

It said the dynamics of the virus were consistent with global trends and 93% of confirmed cases were mild or asymptomatic.

Since the start of the pandemic in Russia in April 2020, over 800,000 people have died from coronavirus or causes related to COVID-19, Reuters calculations show, with the country recording over 18 million infections.

Russia was quick to develop and launch its Sputnik V vaccine when the pandemic struck but take-up was slow, with many Russians citing distrust of the authorities and fear of new medical products. About 52% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

Reporting by Reuters