Russia Issues National Mask Mandate After Coronavirus Cases Surge

Russian authorities issued a national mask requirement Tuesday as the country set a single day record for coronavirus deaths amid a resurgence of new cases.Health officials reported 16,550 new cases and 320 new deaths Tuesday, the highest daily death toll since the pandemic started.In response, Russia’s consumer safety and public health agency, Rospotrebnadzor, ordered all Russians to wear masks in crowded public spaces, on public transit, in taxis, parking lots and elevators starting on Wednesday.The agency also recommends regional authorities put a curfew on entertainment events, cafes, restaurants and bars from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.Russia has the world’s fourth largest tally of more than 1.5 million confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the pandemic.The government’s coronavirus task force has been reporting more than 15,000 new infections every day since Sunday, which is much higher than in spring.Russia has reported more than 26,000 virus-related deaths.Despite the sharp spike in daily infections, Russian authorities have repeatedly dismissed the idea of imposing a second national lockdown or shutting down businesses.Most virus-related restrictions were lifted in July as cases dropped, but masks were still encouraged.

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