On Friday, authorities confirmed that 828 people had died within the past 24 hours, the most since the start of the pandemic in March last year. The news comes a day after the mortality count hit 820, matching the previous record set over the winter. At least 202,273 people are now thought to have died from the virus in Russia.
In the same period, 21,379 new cases were recorded, a slight decrease in the number of positive tests compared to the day before. The country’s two major metropolises appeared to be worst affected, with the majority of deaths recorded in and around Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as in the Volga region city of Samara and in Voronezh, close to the border with Ukraine.
Alexander Gorelov, the deputy head of health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor’s epidemiology institute, told journalists that, despite the figures, officials are hoping this fall will see fewer Covid-19 cases than last year. “However, much of it is down to us,” he said, “in terms of whether we vaccinate ourselves, and follow simple but effective measures like washing our hands, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.”
Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday that there are currently “no discussions” at the highest level of Russian politics about the prospect of reintroducing a new lockdown, with most regions of the country having scrapped restrictions on businesses, travel and hospitality. “Of course, the government is closely monitoring the situation,” he added. President Vladimir Putin is currently observing a period of self-isolation, saying “dozens” of his staff have tested positive for the virus in recent days.
Earlier this week, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin chalked up the latest wave of the virus to the change in seasons. “In the autumn period, people are coming back from holidays and schools have reopened for pupils,” he said. “You just need to be more careful around this time and comply with public health measures.”
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