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COVID-19: Moscow Offers Free Antibody Tests; Georgia Reopening Public Transport

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A man wearing protective gear pours a white substance into a grave during a funeral at a cemetery amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Moscow on May 26.

The global death toll from the coronavirus is almost 350,000 with more than 5.4 million infections confirmed, causing mass disruptions as governments continue to try to slow the spread of the new respiratory illness.

Here's a roundup of COVID-19 developments in RFE/RL's broadcast regions.

Russia

Medical institutions in Moscow have begun conducting free tests to gather information on the presence of coronavirus antibodies in the Russian capital's residents.

Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova said on May 27 that Muscovites could now register electronically at hospitals close to their homes to get tested for the presence of antibodies.

"The appointments will be made 14 days prior [to the tests].... The test results will be available in three days for everyone online on their electronic medical chart," Rakova said, adding that Moscow's hospitals were capable of collecting 5,000 samples per day.

Rakova's announcement comes after officials said the total number of coronavirus cases in the country had decreased for a second day in a row.

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In the last 24 hours, 8,338 new cases of coronavirus infection have been identified, official statistics show, and 11,079 people had recovered from the virus.

Russia has recorded 370,680 cases of the infection, with 3,968 deaths, including 161 in the last 24 hours.

Russia's official statistics have been challenged by some researchers, who say they may be incomplete, inaccurate, and even partially falsified, which the authorities have denied.

Meanwhile, Moscow authorities will reopen all non-food stores, repair shops, laundromats, and dry cleaners as of June 1.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on May 27 during a conversation with President Vladimir Putin that as of June 1, Moscow residents will be allowed to move about the city without restrictions in accordance with a schedule that will be outlined prior to that date.

Restrictions introduced in Moscow on March 29 to slow the spread of the coronavirus included the temporary closure of non-food stores, theaters, restaurants, cafes, fitness centers, beauty salons, recreational sites, parks and other nonessential venues and facilities.

Later, operations of retail facilities selling medical and optical-ophthalmic products, as well as those of companies licensed to provide medical services, were allowed to reopen.

On May 12, Moscow authorities allowed industrial facilities and construction companies to resume operations.

Georgia

Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia says public transportation in Georgia, including the subway system in Tbilisi, will resume operations as of May 29.

Gakharia said on May 27 that passengers taking public transport will be required to wear face masks.

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As of June 1, open-space shops and outdoor restaurants will resume operations, Gakharia said, adding that trips between towns and cities will be allowed as of June 8.

"Also, starting June 8, all other restaurants and hotels that have passed the inspections of the Ministry of Health and have the appropriate permits will resume work," he said.

Georgia will resume domestic tourism on June 15 with an eye on opening the country to foreign tourists as of July 1, he said.

Health authorities in the South Caucasus nation said on May 27 that the total number of officially registered coronavirus cases in the country was 735, including 12 deaths.

With reporting by TASS, Interfax, and RFE/RL's Georgian Service
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