Russia reported a record number of daily COVID-19 deaths and infections on Thursday, clocking 986 deaths and 31,299 cases, The Associated Press reported.
In recent weeks, the country has posted steadily rising records of daily COVID-19 deaths — a worrying trend as the country struggles to pick up its vaccination pace. According to Johns Hopkins University, roughly 31 percent of the country has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
COVID-19 cases trended upward through the second half of September. Russia saw more than 18,000 COVID-19 cases on Sept. 15, per data from the World Health Organization. Less than a month later, it reported 29,400 infections on Oct. 11, reaching levels last seen during a surge last December, when the country reported over 29,900 daily cases.
Since the start of the pandemic, Russia has reported close to 220,000 deaths, making it the fifth most severely impacted nation by COVID-19. According to the AP, only the U.S., Brazil, India and Mexico rank higher.
Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said Thursday that “if we don’t take measures to restrict social communications resulting in growing infections, we will face rising contagion,” according to the AP.
However, government officials have indicated that it will be left to Russia’s 85 regions to implement measures such as lockdowns or vaccine mandates. A countrywide lockdown like the one that occurred during the beginning of the pandemic has been ruled out by the Kremlin, the news outlet reported, noting the measure hurt Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinPutin blasts cancel culture, calls gender fluidity 'crime against humanity' Russia breaks daily COVID-19 infections, death record US, allied nations force REvil ransomware group offline: report MORE’s approval rating and the country’s economy.
Restricted access to public places like restaurants and theaters in addition to limits on numbers of people going to bigger public events have already been enacted in some areas of Russia, while a number of regions are also enforcing vaccine requirements for workers in retail, education, health care, public transportation and service industries.