Russia sees spike in coronavirus cases as lockdown restrictions ease

Parts of Russia have begun to ease some lockdown restrictions despite the country recording a rise in coronavirus cases.

World Health Organization (WHO) spokeswoman Margaret Harris said Tuesday that countries in Western Europe are seeing a “steady decline” of cases, but the same cannot be said for the rest of the continent.

People wearing face masks and gloves to protect from coronavirus, walk to an entrance of the GUM, State Department store after reopening in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, June 1, 2020. Monday's reopening of retail stores along with dry cleaners and repair shops comes as the pace of contagion has stabilized in the Russian capital that has accounted for about half of the nation's infections. 

People wearing face masks and gloves to protect from coronavirus, walk to an entrance of the GUM, State Department store after reopening in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, June 1, 2020. Monday's reopening of retail stores along with dry cleaners and repair shops comes as the pace of contagion has stabilized in the Russian capital that has accounted for about half of the nation's infections.  (AP)

“It’s not speedy, but there’s a steady decline in new cases being reported daily, so that means that the number of new cases are still significant but the number is coming down -- except for Russia and Eastern Europe, where we are still seeing the rise,” she said, according to Reuters.

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Russia has reported at least 423,000 cases – making it the world’s third-highest reported total only behind Brazil and the United States. More than 5,000 deaths have been attributed to the COVID-19 virus in Russia.

On Monday, Moscow eased restrictions on non-food retailers, dry cleaners, and repair shops in an effort to restart the city’s economy. Restaurants, cafes, hairdressers and gyms remained closed.

An Orthodox priest wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus distributes Holy Communion during a service at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Churches in Moscow reopen to believers after a two-month lockdown imposed to control the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

An Orthodox priest wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus distributes Holy Communion during a service at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Churches in Moscow reopen to believers after a two-month lockdown imposed to control the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

The two main Russian Orthodox cathedrals in Moscow -- the Christ the Savior Cathedral and the Epiphany Cathedral at Yelokhovo -- welcomed parishioners again on Tuesday.

The move was coordinated with federal and city officials. Churchgoers are supposed to wear medical masks and maintain a proper distance from others during services.

Other churches in the Russian capital are scheduled to reopen on Saturday. Moscow churches have been closed to parishioners since April 13.

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Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin has instructed his government to take quick steps to repair the economic damage caused by the pandemic.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin reported to Putin on Tuesday that the Cabinet’s plan contains measures designed to stimulate economic growth, raise incomes and reduce unemployment. It envisages spending 5 trillion rubles (about $73 billion) until December 2021.

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Putin claims the nation is past the peak of contagion; however, a daily increase of about 9,000 new confirmed cases makes a quick lifting of the lockdown dangerous.

Fox News' Stephen Sorace and the Associated Press contributed to this report.