MOSCOW (Reuters) – Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Tuesday that the Russian capital would extend a planned school holiday in October to two weeks as part of a series of measures to stem the coronavirus.
The move follows a recommendation from Sobyanin last week for anyone with chronic health problems or those older than 65 to stay home.
On Tuesday, Sobyanin said students would be off from school from Oct. 5-18, and urged parents to ensure their children remained home during that period.
“Today a significant proportion of the sick – who are often asymptomatic – are children,” Sobyanin said on his website.
“When they come home, they easily transmit the virus to adults and elderly family members who get much more sick.”
Sources told Reuters last week that Moscow hospitals had been instructed to free up hundreds of beds for COVID-19 patients in response to a sharp increase in cases.
The Kremlin said last week it did not plan to impose severe lockdown restrictions despite a growing number of new cases of COVID-19.
With more than 1,159,000 cases, Russia has the world’s fourth highest number of infections.
(Reporting by Maxim Rodionov and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Katya Golubkova and Philippa Fletcher)