Russia sets records for coronavirus cases, deaths
MOSCOW: Russia on Thursday registered record numbers for daily infections and deaths from the coronavirus, as the country avoids reimposing a nationwide lockdown.
Health officials reported 29,935 new infections, bringing the country’s number of cases to 2,963,688 – the fourth highest in the world.
They also recorded 635 deaths, increasing the total number of deaths to 53,096 since the beginning of the pandemic.
Russia’s mortality rate is much lower than that of other severely affected countries, raising concerns that the authorities could downplay the outbreak.
Data released by the country’s statistics service earlier this month indicated an excess of nearly 165,000 deaths a year between March and October, suggesting that deaths from viruses could be much higher.
Officials on Wednesday recorded a record number of new infections in the capital, Moscow, the epicenter of Russia’s outbreak.
The recordings came after officials said Russia did not need to reintroduce a nationwide blockade, such as the one at the start of the spring pandemic.
During his annual press conference at the end of last week, President Vladimir Putin rejected the idea of imposing the kind of blockade that many European countries have introduced for the Christmas holidays.
“If we comply with the rules and requirements of health regulators, then we do not need blockages,” Putin said.
Although strict restrictions have been imposed in some large cities, authorities in many regions have limited measures to impose mass clothing in public spaces and to reduce mass gatherings.
However, many Russians have violated the rules of social distance and clothing, and in recent weeks the outbreak has overwhelmed underfunded hospitals in the regions.
Instead of blocking, Russia put its hope on the homemade vaccine, Sputnik V – named after the Soviet-era satellite.
The capital has launched a mass vaccination campaign, starting with those in high-risk groups, including teachers, health and transport workers.
But the Russians have so far been slow in getting the jab.