Golikova announced that the authorities have postponed the bill on QR codes

Golikova: the government and deputies decided to postpone the consideration of the draft law on QR codes Initially, the document was prepared as a response to the delta strain, but new challenges have appeared, the Deputy Prime Minister explained. By the second reading, it will be amended to allow visiting public places for PCR tests

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Consideration of the bill on QR codes in public places in the second reading was postponed. This was announced by Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Tatyana Golikova.

“The government together with the United Russia party” in conditions of high uncertainty in the development of the epidemiological situation, we worked out a joint decision on the advisability of postponing the consideration of the bill in the second reading, — said Golikova.

The Deputy Prime Minister explained this by saying that the document was originally prepared as a reaction to the spread of the delta strain of coronavirus, but recently “new challenges” have arisen.

Secretary of the United Russia General Council Andriy Turchak explained that it was decided to postpone consideration of the bill due to the situation with the spread of the COVID-19 omicron strain. According to him, the party has carefully studied the situation and considers “the only right thing is to postpone” consideration of the document.

By the second reading, the government will introduce amendments to the draft law, according to which:

  • from February 1, citizens will be able to use a negative PCR test to visit public places;
  • The Ministry of Health will be able to set the validity of certificates for citizens who have received a medical exemption from vaccination;
  • military or persons equivalent to them will be able to obtain a certificate in compliance with the necessary data protection requirements.

The bill on the introduction of QR codes in public places was submitted by the government to the State Duma on November 12, 2021, along with the initiative to introduce QR codes for travel by rail and air, as well as on long-distance and international routes. The latter was removed from consideration by the State Duma for processing after criticism, in particular from airlines.

In accordance with the document, it was planned to introduce QR codes from February 1, and this measure was to be valid until June 1. To visit public places (including cultural organizations, public catering establishments and retailers), at the request of regional authorities, it will be necessary to present a QR code, which is provided after vaccination or a past illness, or a withdrawal from vaccination issued by a medical institution.

The bill did not affect the work of public transport, pharmacies, grocery retail and stores with essential goods.

The government explained the amendments by the fact that with the required 80% of herd immunity in early November, this figure only approached 50 %.

The document was sent for discussion to the regions. Most of them approved the amendments. In North Ossetia, the deputies of the local parliament initially voted against, but approved the document a few hours later.

On December 16, 2021, the draft law on QR codes in public places was considered in the first reading, it was supported by 329 deputies.

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Deputies of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation came out actively against QR codes, who, before voting, hung out in the meeting room a poster “Communist Party against QR-fascism”. They also did not support the document “Fair Russia”; For the truth” and “New People”. So, for example, the leader of the Right-wing Russia, Sergei Mironov, proposed introducing a QR code system only in case of an emergency. In “New People” stated that the restrictions should not be applied to transport, as this would be followed by a decrease in passenger traffic and an increase in prices, which would lead to damage for the vaccinated.

After discussion in the State Duma, the document was re-sent to the regions, the Federation Council and the government.

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The very next day, Russian President Vladimir Putin, during his speech at the RUIE congress, asked to finalize the law on COVID-certificates in public places, to make it clear and precise. Even before that, on December 9, Putin demanded to do without “rash decisions”; when entering QR codes. He said that when adopting the bill, it is necessary to carefully consider everything, work out the idea with the regions and not violate the rights of citizens.

Although the introduction of QR codes is not fixed at the level of federal legislation, the regional authorities independently introduce the system depending on the epidemiological situation (including the occupancy of beds in hospitals). One of the toughest was the option in Tatarstan, where public transport was banned without a QR code.

At the same time, in some regions, the authorities imposed restrictions only for a while. So, in December they refused to check QR codes for visiting public places in the Stavropol Territory. In the Vladimir region, they were allowed to stay in hotels without restrictions, and in the Sverdlovsk region they were allowed to visit shopping centers.

In Moscow, QR codes were introduced in the summer amid a low level of vaccination. Later, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin spoke about the decision to “take a dosed approach to QR codes,” since in the long term this system could lead to huge business losses. As a justification, he cited the example of the summer, when incomes fell by 20–80%.

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