Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced Monday the end of a strict anti-coronavirus lockdown that has been in place for weeks in the Russian capital.
From Tuesday, the city’s “self-isolation and pass system will be cancelled,” he said in a video message on Facebook, adding that “Moscow is returning to the usual rhythm of life”.
Moscow, the largest city in Russia with population of some 12 million, went into lockdown at the end of March to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The capital remains the epicentre of the pandemic in Russia with around half of the country’s 476,658 virus infections.
City officials had introduced a strict permit system to allow Muscovites access to public transport and taxis for work and essential activities.
“All major restrictions — subject to maintaining epidemiological safety and taking into account sanitary measures — will be lifted in June,” the mayor said Monday.
Moscow residents including the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases will be allowed to leave their homes beginning Tuesday, Sobyanin added.
Hairdressers, beauty salons and vets will also be allowed to reopen on Tuesday.
Libraries, real estate offices and companies that provide services to residents will be allowed to resume their work beginning next week, he said.
Museums and zoos will reopen to visitors who purchase electronic tickets and sports events will restart with no more than 10 percent of stadiums filled.
Sobyanin said restaurants and cafes would open in two stages beginning June 16 with Moscow residents allowed to visit terraces, with further restrictions easing the following week.
Despite plans to lift the city’s quarantine, the mayor urged caution, saying that the “likelihood of coronavirus infection has decreased, but still exists.”
“We must constantly monitor the situation and prevent a new outbreak,” he said.
Russia has the third-highest number of coronavirus infections in the world after the United States and Brazil.
Health officials on Monday said the country’s death toll had risen to 5,971 while the number of new cases was 8,985, a number that has been fairly consistent over the last weeks.