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Moscow mayor urges more home-working as Russia’s new COVID cases hit three-month high

FILE PHOTO: A security guard wearing a protective face mask looks on in Moscow, as Russia’s coronavirus case tally passed the one million September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The mayor of Moscow urged businesses on Friday to get more people to work from home as Russia’s daily tally of new coronavirus cases hit its highest since June 23.

Officials reported 7,212 new infections, bringing the national case total to 1,136,048. In Moscow, the tally of new cases rose almost 50% overnight to 1,560 from 1,050 the previous day.

Russia lifted many of its lockdown restrictions in June and many shops, businesses and public transport in the capital of more than 12.5 million people are operating largely as normal.

But on Friday Mayor Sergei Sobyanin recommended that the heads of all companies in the city switch as many of their staff as possible to working from home from Monday.

TsUM, Moscow’s flagship luxury goods department store, was fined 1 million roubles ($13,000) for failing to make its visitors wear masks, the city’s coronavirus taskforce said.

It said raids to check for mandatory mask-wearing in shops were continuing and that more than 15,000 fines had been issued.

Sobyanin advised anyone with chronic health problems or those older than 65 to stay at home except in urgent circumstances. Any pension-age working Muscovites should work from home or take holiday, he said.

The national coronavirus taskforce said 108 people had died across Russia in the last 24 hours, pushing the official coronavirus death toll to 20,056.

Russia has the world’s fourth-highest case total, behind the United States, India and Brazil, and the 12th highest death toll according to the official figures.

Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Anton Kolodyazhnyy; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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