Russia on Thursday saw its highest single-day spike in COVID-19-related deaths since March 23, as the number of cases in the country continues to grow, health officials said.
According to Russia’s emergency task force, 14,057 new coronavirus cases were reported over the last 24 hours, bringing the overall count to 5.26 million.
The rise in infections also pushed up fatalities, as some 416 people died of COVID-19 over the past day, bringing the country’s death toll to 127,992, while 11,205 recovered from the virus, putting the total number of recoveries to 4.83 million.
At least 296,350 people are currently under treatment in Russia.
Anna Popova, Russia's chief sanitary officer, explained the growth in the number of cases from people failing to take protective measures.
Rates especially soared in Russia’s two largest cities – Moscow and Saint Petersburg – where many people use public transport, she added.
The chief sanitary officer said the consumer health watchdog – Rospotrebnadzor – switched to a round-the-clock mode of work in an attempt to contain the spike.
She instructed to strengthen the monitoring in the regions and do not hesitate to toughen the restrictions if necessary.
Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin confirmed that the capital has seen infections more than double, calling the dynamics of the coronavirus spread "huge."
The mayor said the growth is surprising because nearly 60% of the Moscow population has immunity to the virus, people either vaccinated against it or developed antibodies after contracting the virus.
Sobyanin went on saying that Moscow is raged by a new mutated strain of coronavirus, which is more aggressive, contagious and resistible to the treatment than Wuhan's variant, and leads to a graver course of disease with more complications.
Sobyanin sounded the alarm, saying he expects the daily number of cases will pass 9,000 the next day, the unprecedented figure for Moscow.
The mayor warned that although at the moment there are enough beds available, hospitals are close to their maximum capacities, and stricter measures related to countering COVID-19 spread are on the agenda.
Moscow officials are monitoring the situation and will protect Muscovites with measures suitable for the situation, he said.
Requirements and incentives
On Wednesday, in several Russian regions, including the capital and the greater Moscow area, authorities ordered mandatory vaccination for service industry employees, introducing penalties for failure to comply.
Several universities are also considering banning unvaccinated students from attending full-time education.
Some regions are encouraging people to get vaccinated with additional holidays and other bonuses.
Although Russia was the first country in the world to register a coronavirus vaccine – Sputnik V – it lags behind in the rate of vaccinated people, with only about 10% of the population having gotten a shot.
Since December 2019, the pandemic has claimed over 3.83 million lives in 192 countries and regions, with more than 177 million cases reported worldwide, according to the US' Johns Hopkins University.
The US, India and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.