Russia holds large-scale music concerts amid second wave of pandemic

The chairman of the Committee for Culture of St. Petersburg, Konstantin Sukhenko, was reprimanded for improper coordination of the work of cultural organizations to ensure compliance with sanitary measures to curb the spread of the new coronavirus infection.

The official was reprimanded after the head of Rospotrebnadzor (Russian Federal Agency for Health and Consumer Rights), Anna Popova, criticized the authorities of St. Petersburg for holding a music concert of rapper Basta. The rapper played two concerts at the "Ice Palace" sports complex of St. Petersburg, which had the attended of over 12,000 viewers in total. 

The videos from the concert shows people standing at the concert without any social distancing, many were not wearing face masks. It was also reported that many viewers stood up from the seats and moved freely in the hall, having thus congregating into a crowd. 

Deputy director general of the Ice Palace for legal issues, Georgy Nikolov, stated in response to the allegations that the video did not display everything clearly, and the venue was not more than 50% full. 

Representatives of the press service of the artist also said that they followed the instructions from the authorities of St. Petersburg and Rospotrebnadzor, whereas a representative of the Committee on Culture of St. Petersburg attended the concert on November 27 at the Ice Palace and did not report a single violation, RIA Novosti reports.

"All the requirements listed in the decree by the Governor of St. Petersburg were met, all notification letters were signed at city structures. The venue was 50 percent full at the concert. Many report about the permissible level of 25 percent, but this rule takes effect only from December 1. At our concert there were no tickets without seats, there were no standing area tickets either, all the viewers were sitting at their seats," Basta said in his video address that he posted on Instagram.

He also said that face masks were distributed among the viewers, and there were hand sanitisers provided in the foyer. According to the musician, his concert became "a lump in the throat" for other organizers, who did not find either strength or professionalism to prepare for music concerts in accordance with the new rules during the coronavirus pandemic. 

On November 30, Anna Popova, the head of Rospotrebnadzor, ordered to check how safety measures were observed at the concerts. She said at a meeting of the epidemic coordination council on December 1, that "it is unacceptable to hold such events" against the background of the  current coronavirus crisis. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin supported her point of view. As a result, the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg was closed, and the materials on the revealed violations were sent to court.

As many as 589 coronavirus patients have died in the last 24 hours in Russia. This number set a new record in the history of coronavirus records in the Russian Federation since the beginning of the pandemic. Of these, 82 people died in St. Petersburg, 75 - in Moscow, 32 - in the Moscow region.

In total, 41,053 patients with coronavirus have died in Russia since the beginning of the pandemic; the number of positive cases current counts 2,347,401 people.

The previous daily mortality record was set a day earlier, December 1, when 569 deaths were reported.