Europe

Russia to require proof of immunity to COVID-19 from travellers -draft laws

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A medical specialist works at a COVID-19 rapid testing centre located at a metro station amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Moscow, Russia November 9, 2021. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva

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MOSCOW, Nov 12 (Reuters) - The Russian government on Friday published a draft proposal to require QR codes as proof of immunity to COVID-19 from air and railway travellers up to June 1.

The government will decide later on the date when the rule would be implemented, transport minister Vitaly Savelyev said at a briefing broadcasted on Friday.

"Specific medical documentation... will have to be presented during the purchase of tickets and at the boarding whether it is a plane or a railway carriage," Savelyev said.

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The proposed laws, which have yet to be approved by the parliament, suggest that, starting from Feb. 1, QR codes may be also needed to enter public places, including restaurants, but this set of restrictions may differ from region to region depending on the local infection rate.

Russia reports the highest number of daily infections since the start of the pandemic and has the third-highest coronavirus death toll in the world after the United States and Brazil.

Russian coronavirus-related deaths surpassed the 500,000 mark in November, the data from the coronavirus task force and the state statistics service Rosstat shows.

By imposing new restrictions the authorities try to speed up a slow vaccination campaign at a time when only about 40% of Russians are fully vaccinated.

A negative PCR-test can be presented instead of a proof of immunity to the coronavirus before Feb. 1, the draft law says.

After this date, QR codes will be issued to those who have been vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or have documents that prove that vaccination is not recommended for them for medical reasons, the documents said.

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Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova Editing by Alistair Bell

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