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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.

Passengers walk along the platform of a metro station in Moscow, Russia on November 8, 2021.
(Reuters / Evgenia Novozhenina)

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.

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