Russia’s COVID cases exceed 8 million as deaths rise – Daily Breeze

By Jim Heintz | Associated press

MOSCOW – The total number of coronavirus infections in Russia has exceeded 8 million, or more than 5% of the population, and the daily number of infections has reached a new record.

The National Coronavirus Task Force on Monday said 34,325 new infections in the past day brought the pandemic total to 8,027,012. It also said 998 people died from COVID-19 the day before, bringing the total number of deaths to 224,310 – the highest number of virus deaths in Europe.

The daily death toll is minutely lower than the record 1,002 recorded on Saturday, but shows that Russia is still grappling with the virus as vaccination rates remain low.

Russian authorities have tried to speed up the pace of vaccinations with lotteries, bonuses and other incentives, but widespread vaccine skepticism and mixed signals from authorities have hampered efforts. The task force said on Monday that around 45 million Russians, or 32 percent of the country’s nearly 146 million people, are fully immunized.

Despite the growing toll, the Kremlin has ruled out a new nationwide lockdown like the one at the start of the pandemic that severely damaged the economy and shook President Vladimir Putin’s popularity. Instead, he delegated the power to enforce the coronavirus restrictions to regional authorities.

Some of Russia’s 85 regions have restricted attendance at major public events and limited access to theaters, restaurants and other venues.

Authorities in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, introduced digital codes on Monday that must be shown from November 1 proving past vaccination or infection to participate in conferences and sporting events. From November 15, these codes will be mandatory in movies, theaters, museums and gymnasiums and on December 1 they will become mandatory in restaurants, cafes and some stores.

The city reported the second highest number of new infections in the country after Moscow.

So far, authorities in Moscow have refrained from tightening restrictions on coronaviruses despite the growing number of cases and daily life in the capital has remained largely normal.

The highest concentrations of new cases are found mainly in the relatively urbanized west of Russia and in developed areas along the Pacific coast, such as Vladivostok and Khabarovsk. Yet the sparsely populated Siberian region of Sakha and Chukotka in the far northeast also has high case rates of more than 150 infections per 100,000 population over a seven-day period.

The official COVID-19 toll ranks Russia the fifth largest pandemic death in the world after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.

However, state statistics agency Rosstat, which also counts deaths for which the virus was not considered the primary cause, reported a much higher number of pandemic deaths – around 418,000 people with COVID. -19 in August. Based on that number, Russia would be the fourth hardest-hit country, ahead of Mexico.

Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.

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