'It's bad that people have become less vigilant': a new surge in COVID-19 incidence expected in Tatarstan

The Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) of Tatarstan urges Tatarstan residents to remain vigilant and observe the mask regime, and the Ministry of Healthcare warns that a new surge in coronavirus infection could happen as early as the end of May. Nevertheless, against the background of a decrease in the number of cases in the republic, children's camps have been allowed to receive as many children as they could this summer, giving a number of other concession, including holding mass outdoor events.

Incidence of COVID-19 in Tatarstan is decreasing by 20% weekly, but may further increase

Lyubov Avdonina, the deputy chief sanitary doctor of Tatarstan, said that in the republic the incidence of viral respiratory infections, which includes COVID-19, is now 40% below the epidemiological threshold. The very same decrease in the incidence of coronavirus has been noted since the 8th week of 2022 — an average of 20% weekly. But the incidence of influenza ceased to be recorded in the 6th week.

As before, the lion's share of coronavirus disease falls on the Omicron strain, while the Delta accounts for only 5%. In 92% of all cases, the disease proceeds according to the type of viral respiratory infections. Despite this, Avdonina said that all anti-Covid-19 measures remain, including in terms of compliance with the mask regime, which can be cancelled only in the case of a decision of the chief sanitary doctor of Russia. Commenting on that most of the residents of Tatarstan have stopped observing it, she said:

“It's bad that people have become less vigilant. Moreover, according to forecasts, there may be another surge of coronavirus disease, and how far we will be able to pass it directly depends on compliance with anti-Сovid-19 measures. The mask regime must be observed, especially in public places.”

The norm for mandatory disinfection measures at facilities, as well as morning filters in schools and kindergartens, also remains. Moreover, over the past day, 311 children were not admitted to educational institutions, although due to the detection of only viral respiratory infections or fever. In total, 57,2 thousand children have not been admitted to classes since September 1 last year.

Children's camps were allowed to receive as many children as they could

Nevertheless, some relaxation has been introduced, and it is for children who will rest in summer health camps. For example, a ban was previously imposed on holding mass events in them with the participation of outsiders — animators, actors, coaches. Today they are allowed to be held, but so far only in the open air.

But the main thing is that the restrictions on the occupancy of the camps have been lifted: if previously it could only be filled by a maximum of 75%, now it can receive as many children as the design capacity allows. The restrictions on the simultaneous arrival of children have also been lifted — it will be allowed during the day, although the camps will be obliged to observe a break between shifts for two days.

Children's camps were allowed to receive as many children as they could. Photo: realnoevremya.ru (archive)

The staff must be tested for COVID-19 at least two days before the opening of the country camp, but it is no longer necessary to test it weekly. The following remain mandatory: masks in food stalls, round-the-clock presence of a medical worker in the camp, and a ban on “parental days”.

76% of Tatarstan citizens in 60+ risk category have already been vaccinated

A total of 144,409 cases of coronavirus have been registered in Tatarstan since March 15, 2020, 218 cases per day. The majority, or 101,045 cases, still account for 2022.

During the same day, 9,2 thousand tests were conducted in Tatarstan, in total, 6,1 million since the beginning of testing. Testing coverage of residents and guests of Tatarstan is 240 per 100 thousand population in seven days, this is more than the new norm of 200 tests per 100 thousand population (previously it was 300 tests per 100 thousand population — editor's note).

Two hundred and twenty-five people have recovered over the past day. As for vaccination, 82,8% of Tatarstan residents (2,5 million people) got the first component of the vaccine, 1,9 million people have been fully vaccinated. Among the residents in the risk category, aged 60+, 650 thousand people got the first part of the vaccine, 437 thousand have been fully vaccinated, or 76% of the entire category.

Five hundred and eighty beds are still deployed in medical institutions of Tatarstan under COVID-19, but some of them are free. Nevertheless, the republic has so far retained 16 temporary infectious diseases hospitals on its territory — to ensure the availability of medical care.

A possible surge in coronavirus infection can be expected in a month

The only thing that causes concern to the Ministry of Healthcare of Tatarstan is the backlog in revaccination: almost 300 thousand people were re-vaccinated by April 28, and 741,3 thousand should be — that is, 440 thousand more, said Vladimir Zhavoronkov, the deputy minister of healthcare of Tatarstan, head of the Kazan healthcare department. Moreover, according to the forecast of the ministry of healthcare of Russia, another surge of coronavirus may be expected in late May or early June of this year. In a number of Asian countries, another serious COVID-19 situation is already taking place, including in China.

Despite this, Tatarstan doctors assume that the likely increase in the incidence of coronavirus will not be too serious — by analogy with the Omicron strain, high mortality is not expected — but at the same time high, which will again put a burden on the medical institutions of the republic. According to the deputy minister of healthcare of Tatarstan, the lightness of the disease does not mean light consequences from it at all: according to Zhavoronkov, many who suffered COVID-19 last year today note memory loss, depression and so on.

Sergey Afanasyev

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