By Tony Winterburn • 13 April 2020 • 14:37
Muscovites woke up to a brave new world on Monday, the first day of operation of a new digital permit system, however it crashed with many reporting they saw something strangely familiar: error 404.
As hundreds of thousands flocked to the city government’s sites to download QR codes onto their smartphones, the systems mysteriously collapsed and went offline. “Law enforcement will investigate the sources and reasons of the attacks,” a representative of the mayor’s office added.
Many assumed the websites simply failed to cope with the volume of requests – this, after all, was what technological experts had predicted. The Moscow city government, on its part, preferred to blame hackers. Some of the malevolent operators were sending in DDoS attacks from abroad, it claimed.
For the time being, the system will only apply to journeys made by transport. Citizens will not be required to apply for a pass to do essential shopping and medical runs. But it is likely that such trips will be included in later iterations of the system.
Those applying for the permits are required to register on the mayor’s site – which for much of the morning remained offline – and declare the reason for their trip: work, medical or other reasons. Failure to comply with the new rules will result in fines of up to 5,000 rubles (€5.00).
The Russian capital has also been placed on ‘high alert’ – limiting gatherings to no more than 5,000 (massively more than allowed anywhere in the world) people, warning residents not to travel on public transport during rush hour and requiring returnees from coronavirus hotspots to self-isolate for 14 days. Anyone ignoring quarantine requirements could face up to five years in prison.
In Russia, 15,770 cases of the disease have so far been detected, 130 patients have died, 1,291 were cured, but it is spreading very rapidly according to reports with Russian media initially playing the Pandemic down.
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