As the coronavirus continues to spread out of control in Russia, the federal government has submitted draft legislation to the State Duma that would require people to present QR codes documenting either vaccination against COVID-19 or a past diagnosis in order to enter public places or access certain forms of transportation.
The first bill drafted by the government cabinet would impose the QR-code prerequisite on access to mass public events, cultural institutions, eateries, and all retailers. If the legislation were adopted, entry to one of these spaces would require proof of vaccination, evidence of a previous COVID-19 diagnosis, or a certificate of medical exemption from vaccination. The draft law would permit people without these records to continue visiting the listed places by presenting negative PCR test results for COVID-19, but only until February 1, 2022. After this date, negative test results would grant entry to public places only for people with medical exemptions from vaccination.
The new restrictions would not apply, however, to essential places like pharmacies and grocery stores, spokespeople for the government have emphasized. If adopted, the law would remain in effect for just a few months, expiring on June 1, 2022.
The government’s second bill submitted to the Duma proposes the use of QR codes for passengers on trains and planes traveling internationally and between cities. This new requirement could also enter force as soon as February 1, 2022, says Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, who warned on Friday that vaccine certificates will soon be as important to Russians as their personal identification. Until February, trains and planes will continue to admit passengers with negative PCR test results. Foreign citizens will also need to present negative test results to travel this way inside Russia.
The QR-code requirements for access to public places and certain transportation would not extend to minors.
Earlier in November, S7 Airlines — the largest private airline in Russia — warned that the number of domestic flights in the country would likely fall by 50 percent if the government mandated QR codes for passengers.
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