By ULIANA PAVLOVA
MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian government has decided to delay a controversial bill requiring QR codes confirming vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 to access public places, despite surging cases and warnings from top officials about the highly infectious omicron variant. Russia on Friday reported 23,820 new infections, a 12% increase from the previous day, and 739 deaths. Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said the legislation was postponed due to the “high uncertainty” as the draft bill was originally prepared in response to the delta variant but “new challenges” have arisen. The bill will be amended to allow Russians with negative PCR tests to use short-term QR codes in a largely vaccine-skeptic population.