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Russia said Friday it would end all restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19, including the requirement to wear masks, citing a steady decline in deaths from the virus.
However, it did not rule out the reintroduction of restrictive measures in the event of a deterioration of the situation.
Consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said it was “lifting previously introduced restrictions, including the regime of masks, a ban on public night dining and a number of other measures.”
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He said virus dynamics were consistent with global trends, and 93 percent of confirmed cases were mild or asymptomatic.
Since the onset of the pandemic in Russia in April 2020, more than 800,000 people have died from coronavirus or COVID-19-related causes, according to Reuters calculations, with the country experiencing more than 18 million infections.
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Russia was quick to develop and launch its Sputnik V vaccine when the pandemic hit, but adoption was slow, with many Russians citing distrust of authorities and fear of new medical products. About 52% of the population has been fully vaccinated.