Oct. 20 (UPI) — In an effort to curb rising COVID-19 cases and deaths, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered a weeklong paid shutdown for workers at non-essential businesses and government.
The shutdown will run Oct. 30 to Nov. 7. Putin’s order also allows regional authorities to extend paid holidays beyond Nov. 7.
Russia reported several daily COVID-19 death records over the past three weeks, with 1,028 deaths reported over Tuesday. Its death toll since the beginning of the pandemic is 226,353.
First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov proposed credits for small to medium size businesses to offset the costs of paid leave for workers.
Moscows’ High School of Economics published a survey last month that said almost half of all Russians wouldn’t take a vaccine against COVID-19, even with a $140 incentive for those 65 and older.
During a televised address, Putin called for more people to get vaccinated and for nationwide testing.
“It’s strange that well-educated people, people with advanced degrees, don’t want to get vaccinated. We have a safe and effective vaccine,” Putin said. “I call upon you to go out and get vaccinated. It’s a question of your life and the lives of the people close to you.”
The Sputnik V vaccine has been authorized for use in over 70 countries but remains unapproved by the World Health Organization for emergency use.
One-third of Russians — or 47.5 million residents — are fully vaccinated.