People waiting for planned operations and other non-urgent medical treatment in Moscow will be denied care in the Russian capital’s hospitals if they have not been vaccinated against Covid-19, but are eligible to receive a jab.

The rule change, designed to protect patients, came from the city’s Department of Health on Friday. Under the new measures, only those with certificates proving they have been immunized will be admitted onto wards for most types of treatment and procedures.

Emergency care, along with anti-cancer therapy and support for those with blood diseases, “will be provided, without exception, to every resident of the city, regardless of their vaccination status,” the city administration confirmed.

“A person who is in a hospital because of an injury or illness, by definition, has a weakened immune system. For such patients, coronavirus disease is especially dangerous,” officials said in a statement. “Every day, patients are transferred from Moscow clinics to Covid hospitals. If a week ago there were 130 such cases per day, then yesterday it was already almost 200.”

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Earlier this week, Moscow became the first city in the world to make vaccination a requirement for employees in many public-facing industries. The order applied to a number of sectors, including people working in hospitality, transport and entertainment venues.

Businesses working in these sectors will be required to ensure no more than 40% of their staff are unvaccinated, with hefty fines for organizations falling foul of the measures. (RT)