Russia records another daily record of deaths as COVID-19 continues surge

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Russia recorded the highest 24-hour death toll since the start of the pandemic on Tuesday, increasing pressure on the Kremlin to take more aggressive action to rein in the virus. 

Russia’s government task force reported 1,015 COVID-19 deaths and 33,740 new infections over the past day, according to the The Associated Press.

Deaths in the country have been on the rise for weeks and exceeded 1,000 per day for the first time over the weekend. The country’s total pandemic death toll is 225,325, the AP reported. 

This is by far the highest death toll in Europe and second only to the U.S. in terms of global daily death averages, according to The New York Times.  

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said the Cabinet would ask Russian President Vladimir Putin to authorize a weeklong nonworking period starting Oct. 30, the wire service added.

The Kremlin has avoided reimposing lockdowns similar to those it ordered early the pandemic, which crippled Russia’s economy and Putin’s popularity.

In August 2020, the country proudly named its COVID-19 shot Sputnik V after the world’s first satellite, a nod to Russia’s scientific acumen as the first country to authorize a COVID-19 vaccine — despite limited testing on humans.  

Around the same time, Russian state-controlled media praised domestic vaccines and criticized Western-produced shots, the AP noted. 

This likely contributed to vaccine hesitancy in the country. Even now, only 33 percent of Russia’s population of nearly 146 million is fully vaccinated, the Times reported.

The Kremlin has permitted local authorities to impose restrictions as necessary. Some of Russia’s 85 regions have restricted attendance at certain events and made vaccinations mandatory for certain public servants and older populations, according to the wire service. 

Meanwhile, in Moscow, despite rising numbers of infections, authorities have avoided implementing restrictions apart from more strictly enforcing mask-wearing on public transit.

Tags COVID-19 deaths COVID-19 surge Russia Vladimir Putin

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