Russia’s Daily COVID Deaths Set New Record, Again

Russia’s coronavirus deaths have surged to another daily record as soaring infections prompted the government to suggest introducing nationwide restrictions at the end of the month to stem the spread of the disease.

The government task force on October 20 reported 1,028 COVID-19-related deaths over the previous day, the highest number since the start of the pandemic.

Russia has by far the largest official death toll in Europe — 226,353.

The country recorded 34,074 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours.

President Vladimir Putin is set to rule on a government proposal to introduce a nationwide nonworking week starting on October 30 that would be extended through the following week, when four days already are state holidays.

Virus cases and mortality numbers have been soaring in Russia for weeks — with the daily death count topping 1,000 for the first time over the weekend — amid low vaccination rates.

Only 35 percent of the country’s nearly 146 million people are fully vaccinated despite the Russian-developed Sputnik V vaccine being widely available.

The Kremlin has been reluctant to impose a new nationwide lockdown like the one introduced early on in the pandemic that sapped the economy and Putin’s popularity, empowering instead regional authorities across the country to decide on local restrictions.

On October 19, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said unvaccinated people over 60 will be required to stay home, and mandatory vaccinations will be extended for service workers.

Sobyanin also told businesses to keep at least a third of their staff working remotely.

Those measures take effect next week

With reporting by AFP and AP