Officials say the proposed legislation is not suited to the current coronavirus situation
Russian lawmakers have postponed consideration of a bill that would introduce a nationwide QR code vaccine pass system, saying the law needs to be adapted to deal with the new Omicron variant of Covid-19.
Tatyana Golikova, deputy prime minister for social policy, labor, health and pensions, told reporters on Friday that government officials, as well as leaders of the ruling United Russia party, had decided that the proposed law had to be adjusted before it could be reviewed. any further. The law was originally intended to consolidate the policies of various local governments, many of which require proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, clubs and mass events.
“Given the many unknowns about the evolution of the epidemiological situation, the government and the United Russia party have decided by mutual agreement to postpone the second reading of the bill,” he added. Golikova said.
Andrey Turchak, general secretary of the General Council of United Russia, said the current legislation was formulated last year mainly in response to the Delta variant, and needed to be revised in light of more recent developments. “United Russia has considered the details of the situation and believes that the only correct solution is to postpone consideration of the bill,” he added. he said.
The legislation was introduced in the lower house of parliament on November 12. As originally conceived, it would have introduced a minimum nationwide requirement for Russians to obtain QR-coded vaccine passes in order to access public spaces and transport. However, the carriage clause was eventually removed. In mid-December, lawmakers approved the bill at first reading. Given the recent postponement, it is unclear when second reading will take place.
A number of regions across the country have already introduced measures similar to those being considered by the national parliament. A poll released in late December showed more Russians fear vaccine needs than Covid-19 itself, and despite the wide availability of vaccines in the country, only about half of Russians have received one. Leaders including President Vladimir Putin have encouraged people to get vaccinated.
At the time the bill was written, Covid-19 cases and deaths in Russia were at an all-time high, but have since declined. However, Putin warned that the country may soon see another wave due to the spread of the Omicron variant.