Russia’s coronavirus deaths are still hovering near an all-time high
Moscow Russia’s coronavirus death toll still hovered near an all-time high on Monday, but the number of new infections continued to fall.
The state’s coronavirus task force has reported 1,241 deaths from COVID-19, down from the epidemic record of 1,254 set last week.
The task force also reported 35,681 new confirmed cases, reflecting a steady downward trend since early November when daily numbers topped 41,000, the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic.
The surge in deaths comes amid low vaccination rates and a lax public attitude in Russia toward taking precautions. About 40% of Russia’s 146 million people have been fully vaccinated, even though the country approved a domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine – Sputnik V – months earlier than most of the world.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday he received a booster dose of Sputnik Lite, a single-dose version of Sputnik V he received in the spring. Putin said he is doing well and has not felt any side effects.
The Kremlin has delegated the power to impose restrictions on regional authorities depending on the local situation, and several provinces across Russia have tightened restrictions, allowing access to public places only for those who have been vaccinated or tested positive for the virus.
The city of Kazan, in the center of Russia’s province of Tatarstan, has become the first in Russia to begin requiring QR codes that prove vaccination, previous illness or negative coronavirus test on public transport.
About 500 people were denied access to public transport in the city of 1.2 million people, and a conflict between a passenger and observers led to a brief suspension of service on one of the city’s tram lines.
Russia’s Cabinet has introduced new legislation that will restrict access to many public places, as well as trains and domestic and international flights, to those who have been fully vaccinated, have recovered from COVID-19 or are medically exempt from vaccination. The legislation, which is set to take effect early next year, has already sparked protests across the country.
In total, Russia’s coronavirus task force has reported more than 9.3 million confirmed infections and 265,336 deaths from COVID-19, the highest death toll in Europe.
Some experts believe the true number is even higher. Reports from Russia’s statistics service, Rosstat, which retroactively counts coronavirus-related deaths reveal a much higher mortality rate. They say about 462,000 people infected with COVID-19 died between April 2020 and September of this year.
Russian officials said the task force includes only deaths for which COVID-19 was the main cause, and uses data from medical facilities. Rosstat uses broader criteria for calculating virus-related deaths and takes its numbers from civil registry offices where death registration is completed.
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