The Kremlin on Wednesday warned Russians against travel during a Moscow-ordered period of non-work to stem a spike in coronavirus infections and deaths.
President Vladimir Putin last week ordered a week-long paid holiday between October 30 and November 7 in a bid to reverse the rise in infections in the country, one of the most affected in Europe.
News agencies citing surveys report that a third of Russians plan to travel during the non-work period and the mayor of the Black Sea resort of Sochi has warned of a huge influx of tourists.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that even if travel was not banned next week, it could affect the spread of the virus.
“Epidemiologists have expressed concern that many people are planning to go on holiday and travel,” Peskov said, adding that the Kremlin hoped that the days off “would help improve the epidemiological situation.”
He added that closing the borders between regions was “undesirable” and was a “last resort”.
Sochi mayor Alexei Kopaygorodsky said 100,000 tourists are planning to visit his city.
He warned visitors that they should show a negative Covid test or vaccine certificate in hotels.
The Sevastopol region in Crimea, which was annexed by the Kremlin in 2014 and is another popular holiday destination, has established checkpoints to check PCR tests and vaccination certificates for those leaving.
St. Petersburg has closed almost all public places and banned cultural and sporting events. The capital, Moscow, will also shut down non-essential services.
Russian authorities have struggled to convince its skeptical vaccine population to get vaccinated even though several vaccines have been available for free for months.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by The Bharat Express News staff and is posted Platforms.)