Russia braces for Omicron-led COVID wave early next year -sources




  • In US
  • 2021-12-30 14:14:08Z
  • By Reuters
 

By Polina Nikolskaya and Anton Zverev

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is bracing itself for another COVID-19 wave early next year, sparked largely by the spread of the highly contagious Omicron strain that has spooked markets and lawmakers in recent weeks, three sources in political circles told Reuters.

"There is the expectation of a new wave in January-February," said a source close to the Kremlin said, adding that daily infections of more than 50,000 were possible.

Two regional government sources said the prospect of a new wave at the start of next year had been discussed at government meetings.

Russia's daily COVID-19 cases have been declining since reaching a peak of 41,335 in early November, and though wide-ranging restrictions to combat the spread of Omicron have not been introduced, authorities have urged caution ahead of Russia's long New Year holidays.

"We are looking at Omicron and so far the understanding is that the disease is milder than Delta," the source close to the Kremlin said, adding that the task of ensuring hospital bed capacity was under way.

"But again, the expectation is that Omicron may lead to fewer hospitalisations than Delta, people will just sit at home."

The Kremlin has frequently expressed frustration at the slow public uptake of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine. Russia's collective immunity against COVID-19, which the government's coronavirus task force measures using data on vaccinations and infections, stood at 61.8% as of Dec. 30.

A health adviser to a governor in central Russia said another wave was expected in early 2022.

"We expect a new wave at this time, we are waiting for our compatriots to return from abroad with Omicron after New Year," the adviser said.

A different source in the government of a northern region told Reuters the new wave had been discussed at meetings with Health Minister Mikhail Murashko and Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, but that it may not be too strong as Omicron symptoms could be less severe.

Russia has detected 103 Omicron cases so far, said Anna Popova, head of consumer health regulator Rospotrebnadzor, on Thursday.

"We understand that Omicron will come to Russia, it is inevitable," Popova said in an interview with state television.

On Tuesday, Popova said the risk of spreading Omicron would certainly increase after the New Year holidays, which run from Jan. 1-9.

"We can expect the epidemiological situation to worsen after these holiday days," she said.

The Health Ministry and coronavirus task force were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya and Anton Zverev; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Nick Macfie)

COMMENTS

More Related News

German chancellor to discuss Russia with France
German chancellor to discuss Russia with France's Macron on Tuesday

Chancellor Olaf Scholz will discuss Russia with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, said a German government spokesperson, as major Western powers...

Pandemic darlings face the boot as investors eye return to normal life
Pandemic darlings face the boot as investors eye return to normal life
  • US
  • 2022-01-21 10:10:14Z

LONDON (Reuters) -Stay-at-home market darling Netflix slumped on Friday, joining a broad decline in the market value of other pandemic favourites this week...

Ukraine, midterms and Build Back Better: White House plays cleanup after Biden
Ukraine, midterms and Build Back Better: White House plays cleanup after Biden's marathon press conference

Biden took questions for nearly two hours Wednesday. Remarks about Ukraine and election integrity prompted the White House to clarify his comments.

As Japan infections surge, so does risk of pandemic fatigue
As Japan infections surge, so does risk of pandemic fatigue
  • US
  • 2022-01-21 09:16:20Z

Japan on Friday acted to contain a record surge in COVID-19 cases with a return to curbs that have however shown diminishing results, while a laggard vaccine...

Spain
Spain's foreign minister says Europeans are 'united' on Ukraine crisis

Spain's foreign minister Jose Manuel Albares said on Friday that Europeans have a united position on the crisis over the Russian military build-up on the...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US