Russia has gone into tourism lockdown to combat coronavirus, including closing state-run recreational areas and hotels and halting all international flights. But the country's other problem is that a majority of its residents do not believe government figures, which show the number of coronavirus cases within Russia has only just surpassed 1,000.
Russia ordered its vast network of state-run hotels, resorts and recreational facilities to shut down from March 28 until June 1, as its number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose past 1,000.
The official tally of confirmed cases jumped by a record daily amount for the third day in a row on Friday, bringing Russia’s total to 1,036 a day after it moved to suspend all international flights. Four people have died.
Russia’s mass domestic tourism and recreation sector is still dominated by the state, a legacy from Soviet times. Millions of Russians still holiday each year at vast state-run hotels, resorts, health spas and children’s camps.
President Vladimir Putin has declared next week a non-working week, and Moscow, the country’s worst-affected area, will this weekend close all cafes, restaurants and shops apart from those selling food and medicine, until April 5.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Russia remains much lower than in many European countries, but the mayor of Moscow told Putin on Tuesday that the real scale of the problem in the capital far exceeded official figures.
An opinion poll by the Moscow-based Levada Centre showed the majority of Russians, some 59 percent, do not believe the official figures. Twenty-four percent said they “absolutely” did not believe them and 35 percent said they only partially believed them, the poll showed.
Putin said on Thursday he hoped Russia would defeat coronavirus in 2-3 months if it imposed tough measures quickly.
On Friday, Putin signed legislation allowing the government to intervene to regulate some retail and wholesale medicine prices.
(Reporting by Alexander Marrow and Tom Balmforth; Editing by Peter Graff)
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Photo credit: Russia has ordered state-run hotels and results to close through June 1 after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country surpassed 1,000. Jorge Láscar / Flickr.com