Russia reported a record 1,002 deaths from Covid-19 on Saturday, the first time the daily number has passed the 1,000-mark since the start of the pandemic.
A total of 33,208 new cases were also confirmed in the past 24 hours, setting a record for the fifth consecutive day, the country’s coronavirus taskforce said.
Russian authorities blame a slow vaccination campaign for a sharp rise in the number of infections and deaths, which forced the health ministry this week to ask retired vaccinated medics to return to hospitals.
Russia estimates that 45 per cent of its population may have an immunity to the novel coronavirus after receiving a vaccine or recovering from the illness, data published by the taskforce on Saturday showed. In Moscow the figure is 61 per cent and is at 64 per cent in the region surrounding the capital.
Russia was quick to develop and launch its Sputnik V vaccine when the pandemic struck last year, but take-up has been slow, with many Russians citing distrust of the authorities and fear of new medical products.
Only around 48 million out of 144 million Russians are fully vaccinated, according to the latest data from the taskforce, with 51 million having received one shot.
The latest coronavirus deaths brought the total official national death toll to 222,315, with more than 7.9 million cases identified.
The Rosstat statistic service, which keeps a separate count of coronavirus deaths, said this month that around 418,000 deaths were recorded between April 2020 and August.
The excess mortality in Russia, which some epidemiologists say is the best way to measure the impact of a pandemic, reached 575,000 extra deaths in the same period in comparison with the average mortality rate in 2015-2019. – Reuters