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Russia hits record daily COVID-19 cases

Russia’s COVID-19 cases have hit another one-day record as the country struggles to contain a wave of infections that has persisted for more than a month.

The national coronavirus task force on Saturday reported 41,335 new cases since the previous day, exceeding the previous daily record of 40,993 from October 31.

The task force said 1188 people with COVID-19 died, just seven fewer than the daily death record reported on Thursday.

Officials cite Russia’s low vaccination rate as a major factor in the sharp rise in cases that began in mid-September.

The task force reported about 57.2 million full-course vaccinations, or less than 40 per cent of the country’s 146 million people.

Last month, President Vladimir Putin ordered many Russians to stay off work between October 30 and November 7.

He authorised regional governments to extend the number of non-working days if necessary.

Several regions, including Novgorod in the northwest, Tomsk in Siberia, the Chelyabinsk region in the Ural Mountains and Kursk and Bryansk regions southwest of Moscow, have extended the non-working period through the end of next week.

Moscow’s mayor said the situation in the capital had stabilised sufficiently for people to return to work there on Monday. People in the Russia-annexed Crimea region also will resume working next week.

Russia has recorded more than 8.75 million confirmed virus cases and 245,635 deaths in the pandemic, according to the national task force, which counts only deaths directly attributed to the virus.

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