Tue. 9:38 a.m.: Russia registers another record in daily COVID-19 deaths
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia registered a new record number of daily coronavirus deaths today as it faced a rapid surge of contagion amid laggard vaccination rates.
The government coronavirus task force reported 973 coronavirus deaths, the highest daily toll since the start of the pandemic.
The country has continuously registered new coronavirus mortality records this month, and daily infections also have been hovering near all-time highs, with 28,190 new confirmed cases today.
In total, Russia’s coronavirus task force has registered over 7.8 million confirmed cases and 218,345 deaths — the highest death toll in Europe. The state statistics agency Rosstat that also counts deaths where the virus wasn’t considered the main cause has reported a much higher total — about 418,000 deaths of people with COVID-19.
The Russian government has blamed a sharp rise in infections and deaths that began last month on a slow vaccination rate. Only 47.8 million Russians, or almost 33 percent of its nearly 146 million people, had received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine, and 42.4 million, or about 29 percent, were fully vaccinated, the government said Friday.
Despite the rapidly mounting coronavirus caseload and mortality, the Kremlin has ruled out a nationwide lockdown, delegating the power to make decisions on toughening coronavirus restrictions to regional authorities.
Some Russian regions have restricted attendance at large public events and limited access to theaters, restaurants and other places to people who have been vaccinated, recently recovered from COVID-19 or tested negative in the previous 72 hours.
However, life remains largely normal in Moscow, St. Petersburg and many other Russian cities, with businesses operating as usual and mask mandates loosely enforced. In Moscow, the authorities expanded free coronavirus tests in shopping malls, hoping it would help stem contagion.