Russia deploys army medics as daily COVID death toll hits record high


Russia will send army medics to an Ural region affected by an upsurge in COVID-19 cases, the Defense Ministry said on Wednesday, after medics launched a public appeal for help from the President Vladimir Putin.Russia has seen new cases of the coronavirus swell in recent weeks. Authorities on Wednesday reported 16,202 new infections and 346 deaths, the highest total on record.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has ordered assistance to be sent to the Kurgan region, about 1,970 kilometers east of Moscow, the ministry said in a statement released by Russian news agencies. .

“A team of military medical specialists will be sent there to provide advisory assistance and treatment of coronavirus patients in medical institutions in the region,” the ministry said.

Health workers in Kurgan last week called on President Vladimir Putin to send reinforcements, citing a critical shortage of hospital space, staff and overcrowded ambulances, in a letter posted on the local news site.

But in Moscow, Russia’s worst-affected region, new cases fell to their lowest level since October 8, with 3,760 recorded infections.

Consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said the situation there was stable and the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 had stabilized at 1,100-1,200 per day, the news agency reported Interfax.

WATCH | Russia’s healthcare system strained by the COVID-19 outbreak:

Rapid rise in COVID-19 cases has hit Russia hard and its underfunded healthcare system shows tension even though authorities had done a big job to tackle the virus with high-tech surveillance measures and strict enforcement. 2:11

Other parts of Russia are also under great tension, according to local media. Two ambulances had brought patients to the local health ministry in the Siberian city of Omsk after finding all hospitals full, local news site said on Tuesday, leading Health Minister Mikhail Murashko to there order checks.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov went into self-isolation on Tuesday after contact with a person who tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Foreign Ministry said Lavrov, 70, who was the country’s top diplomat for more than 16 years, was feeling well, but will postpone official trips and meetings.

In August, Russia became the first country to grant regulatory approval for a vaccine after less than two months of human testing. Large-scale trials are currently underway. Regulators approved a second vaccine earlier this month.

The death toll from COVID-19 in Russia stood at nearly 27,000 on Wednesday. It has reported 1,563,976 infections, the fourth highest number of cases in the world after the United States, India and Brazil.


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