MOSCOW — Schools, shops and restaurants in the city of Moscow will close next week, municipal officials said, in one of the tightest lockdowns in the Russian capital since the pandemic began, a measure made necessary by low vaccination rates.
Russia’s coronavirus response, like that of many other countries, has seesawed between strict controls and lax enforcement of mask-wearing and vaccination rules. Russia pivoted again this week toward tighter lockdowns as reports of new cases and Co-19 deaths climbed.
Reported cases are up 33 percent over the last two weeks, reaching more than 32,400, according to a New York Times database. And on average over the past week, 983 people a day died from the coronavirus; on some days that number exceeded 1,000. Only Russian-made coronavirus vaccines are available in the country, and many people are hesitant to get them. Russia’s vaccination rate of 33 percent of the population is lower than the global average of 37 percent and far behind the rates in most of Europe.
To combat the surge in cases and deaths, President Vladimir V. Putin on Wednesday declared a countrywide “nonworking” week from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7, extending a regular fall holiday by several days. The restrictions the city of Moscow announced on Thursday were even stricter.
Mayor Sergey Sobyanin ordered schools and nonessential businesses to close two days sooner, starting on Oct. 28. He said in a statement posted online that the spread of the virus had gone “by the worst scenario” and that Moscow would soon be setting daily records for new cases.
Early in the pandemic, Moscow locked down more strictly than many Western countries did. Residents were prohibited from leaving their apartments other than to shop at grocery stores or pharmacies, attend medical appointments or walk their dogs.
The city also lifted many restrictions this year before other European countries did on a wide scale, a move that became a point of pride. Mr. Putin contrasted Moscow’s bustling restaurants with the continuing lockdowns abroad.
Over the summer, Moscow imposed, but then dropped, a requirement that patrons be vaccinated to eat in some restaurants or to visit bars. Enforcement of mask-wearing rules in Russia is generally lax.