In a bid to encourage mass inoculation against Covid-19, the authorities in Russia’s Chechen Republic have introduced a strict policy banning all unvaccinated people from entering mosques and stores and using public transport.
The new rules, some of the strictest the country has seen, were announced by Chechen Deputy Prime Minister Vakhit Usmayev on Monday. “When visiting mosques, it is mandatory to have certificates of vaccination,” he explained, noting that checks would also be carried out at retail outlets, sports events and entertainment facilities. Those using public transport will also be required to be inoculated and wear masks.
On the same day, the regional health minister, Elkhan Suleimanov, announced that 60% of the region’s adult population have received the first component of a Covid-19 vaccine, making it the first area in the whole country to achieve this feat. This percentage is often a figure stated for the acquisition of herd immunity. Writing on Telegram, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov encouraged everyone to get vaccinated, calling it “the only way to overcome the pandemic,” urging locals to listen to advice from medical professionals.
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“We are obliged to treat this issue with full responsibility and protect our residents from insidious infection,” he wrote. “I stress that we should not stop at the 60% mark, but vaccinate the entire adult population!”
Mass vaccination against Covid-19 has been taking place in Russia since January 18 but has ramped up in recent months. While President Vladimir Putin has revealed his opposition to compulsory jabs, vaccination policy decisions have been put in the hands of regional heads. Many areas of the country are now forcing workers in specific sectors, such as catering and transport, to get inoculated. Vaccination in Russia is completely free of charge, and citizens have the option of four different domestically-made jabs: Sputnik V, Sputnik Lite, EpiVacCorona, and CoviVac.
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