Moscow Lifts Restrictions as Coronavirus Cases Recede

Moscow has lifted work-from-home measures and restaurant curfews as coronavirus cases continued to recede over the past week, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced Wednesday.

Since the fall, the Russian capital had required that employers transfer 30% of their staff to remote work and bars, restaurants, clubs and other nighttime establishments to close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Mayor Sobyanin, who lifted these restrictions as of Wednesday, noted on his website that companies were free to keep their own work-from-home rules and restaurants were still required to follow health guidelines.

The Moscow administration will decide by Feb. 6 whether to allow in-person attendance at city universities. All Moscow schoolchildren were allowed to return to classrooms from mid-January.

Sobyanin said the Russian capital’s daily coronavirus infections have not topped 3,000 for the past week and hospitalizations have also dramatically gone down since June 2020.

“The pandemic is on the decline and it is our duty … to create the conditions for the fastest possible economic recovery,” the mayor wrote on his website.

Russia has confirmed the world’s fourth-highest number of coronavirus infections at more than 3.7 million cases and the third-highest death toll of more than 186,000. Daily tallies published by the national coronavirus information center place Russia’s death toll at 70,500.

Russia has approved two Covid-19 vaccines and is planning to register a third vaccine in the next few weeks amid hopes to vaccinate tens of millions of Russians by summer 2021.

Moscow Law Enforcement Send Birthday Criminal Reminder to 14-Year-Olds

Moscow law enforcement authorities have sent those turning 14 a special birthday message — by explaining which offenses can now land them in prison.

“You turned 14? Congratulations!” says a woman in uniform holding a birthday cake with candles in the video published by Moscow’s Investigative Committee on Thursday.

“Of course, your parents are still responsible for you, but from this age you will bear personal liability under certain articles of the Criminal Code,” she continues, somewhat dampening the mood.

The Gen Z-friendly video features a policeman emoji showing the numbers of Criminal Code articles as people in uniform list offenses that 14-year-olds can now be prosecuted for, including murder, robbery, hijacking and extortion.

Teenagers may also face “serious punishment” for terrorism, hostage-taking and rape.

The video ends on a more cheerful note: “Your life is your responsibility! The Investigative Committee wishes you a happy birthday.”

The Moscow Investigative Committee later removed the video from its website after it was widely mocked on social media.

The video was jointly produced with the Moscow Department of Social Security, its spokesperson Natalia Tsymbalenko wrote, adding that its unorthodox approach “means that more people will learn about liability and tell their children.”

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