Russia to allow flights to resume to certain countries, including Thailand

PHOTO: Flickr/Daniel Hobbs

From November 9, Russia will allow the resumption of commercial flights to Thailand and a number of other countries. Also on the list are the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Iran, Slovenia, and Oman, according to a report from Reuters and AFP. International commercial flights were grounded last year as Covid-19 took hold.

Other restrictions have been eased since then, but the country is struggling with a surge in infections as a result of the slow pace of its vaccine rollout, coupled with widespread vaccine hesitancy. Yesterday, Russia reported a new high of 31,299 new infections and 986 deaths over the preceding 24-hour period.

The country now holds the dubious honour of Europe’s highest Covid-19 death toll, with 220,315 fatalities. Just 31% of the population is fully vaccinated, with the virus surging amid a lack of strict prevention measures. The government is resisting a return to tough restrictions, insisting the economy must be kept going.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the onus is on people to get vaccinated in order to end the surge in Covid-related deaths.

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“It’s irresponsible not to get the vaccine.”

A number of Covid-19 vaccines have been developed in Russia, including the single-dose Sputnik Light, which manufacturers claim is 70% effective against the highly-contagious Delta variant. Despite this, vaccine hesitancy is widespread, with independent polls revealing that more than half the population say they won’t get vaccinated.

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SOURCE: Reuters/AFP

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Maya Taylor

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