The Russian capital Moscow introduced a new travel permit system for helping it police a lockdown for containing the spread of the deadly coronavirus or COVID-19, which is a move that initially created traffic jams and also long queues of people for using the metro.
The introduction of the system coincided with the record daily rise of 3,388 in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, which took the national tally to 24,490. The response centre of the coronavirus maintained 198 people have died which is an overnight rise of 28.
Moscow is the worst-hit region in Russia
Moscow, the worst-hit region, has imposed a city-wide lockdown, ordering its 12.7 million residents not to leave home except to buy food, get urgent medical treatment, or walk the dog. From Wednesday, any Moscow resident travelling by car or public transport must show a permit in the form of a machine-readable QR code or a series of numbers to justify their travel.
On Wednesday morning, photographs circulating on social media showed queues of hundreds of people standing close to one other in masks as they tried to enter the city's metro stations. Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow's mayor, wrote on social media that the queues had been caused by police officers checking permits. He said he had asked police to prevent such crowds forming in future.
"The queues have been eliminated. Work has been normalised. But in future, it will be necessary to move on to automated control. We'll think about how to do this," wrote Sobyanin. Traffic police have also set up checkpoints on roads coming in and out of the Russian capital and said they will not let anyone pass without a permit. There were reports of large traffic jams forming as a result.
(With agency inputs)