Russia sets latest pandemic record for coronavirus deaths – .

Russia sets latest pandemic record for coronavirus deaths – .

Russia reported 752 coronavirus deaths on Saturday, a national record for pandemic-related deaths in a 24-hour period, as the country grapples with a third wave.

Russia has now set seven new pandemic highs for Covid-19 deaths in the past 12 days as it battles an outbreak driven by the highly infectious Delta variant and a slow vaccination campaign.

The official number of cases of the virus in the country surpassed 5.75 million on Saturday, making it the fifth most affected country in the world, according to an AFP tally.

As of Saturday, only 18.9 million of Russia’s population of some 146 million people had been fully vaccinated, according to the Gogov website, which lists Covid data from the regions.

In Moscow, the epicenter of the epidemic in Russia, only 1.8 million of the city’s estimated 12 million people had been fully vaccinated despite free vaccines having been available since December.

Authorities have faced a population skeptical of vaccines, with an independent poll this week showing that 54% of Russians do not plan to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

But the pace of the vaccination campaign nonetheless picked up after Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin last month ordered 60% of service workers to be fully immunized by mid-August, a certain number of Russian regions having since followed suit.

On Friday, Sobyanin said 3.5 million Muscovites will have received at least their first dose of a vaccine by the end of the weekend.

The mayor also ordered offices in the Russian capital to send home a third of their unvaccinated employees and restaurants to only allow inside customers who have been vaccinated or infected in the past six months.

The Kremlin, however, has rejected mandatory vaccinations for all population groups as well as suggestions to reimpose a nationwide lockdown.

With 142,253 deaths from the virus, Russia has the highest official Covid-19 toll in Europe – even though authorities have been accused of downplaying the severity of the country’s outbreak.

As part of a broader definition of coronavirus-related deaths, statistics agency Rosstat said in late April that Russia had recorded at least 270,000 deaths.


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