Russia recorded 1,000 deaths in 24 hours on Saturday for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with the country’s jab campaign at a standstill and few restrictions in place.
An official government tally showed 1,002 deaths and 33,208 new infections, setting a record for deaths and cases for the third day in a row.
The surge comes with just 32% of Russians fully vaccinated, according to official statistics first released on Saturday.
The lack of strict restrictions allowed the virus to spread unchecked, although a number of regions have reintroduced QR codes for access to public places.
The Kremlin has avoided reintroducing major measures despite the fact that the vaccination rate is “unacceptably” low and the authorities must ensure that “the economy continues to function”.
He also said the Russian medical system was not “overwhelmed” and ready to accommodate the growing number of patients.
Authorities blamed the Russians for the growing epidemic.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko this week highlighted their “behavior”, while Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said everything has been done to give the public the chance to “save their lives by getting vaccinated. “.
While several jabs developed in Russia have been available for months, many people remain skeptical of the vaccines.
Independent polls show that more than half of Russians do not plan to be vaccinated.
“The main preventive measure that can protect a person and avoid a fatal outcome is vaccination,” Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said on national television on Saturday.
In Moscow, during interviews, residents wondered Saturday about the effectiveness of vaccination.
“How many people die each day from the flu, heart attacks or strokes? Said Alexei Kuznetsov, a 48-year-old entrepreneur, who added that he had not been vaccinated.
“I don’t really understand why this particular number is causing such a stir. “
Anna Nazarova, a 25-year-old anesthesiologist, said that most people who have not been in contact with the virus “do not understand the possible complications”.
“There must be a better campaign to get more people vaccinated,” she told AFP.
The death toll in Russia from Covid now stands at 222,315 – the highest death toll in Europe – even as authorities are accused of downplaying the severity of the epidemic in Russia.
As part of a broader definition of virus-related deaths, statistical agency Rosstat said that by the end of August, more than 400,000 people in Russia had died from the coronavirus.
apftv-emg / bp
© 2021 AFP