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Russia’s Covid-19 deaths return to record daily highs

a medical specialist waits for recipients of covid 19 vaccine in belgorod
Tatiana Kadochnikova, a GP, waits for recipients of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a vaccination point opened in a Leroy Merlin hardware store in Belgorod, Russia

Russia on Thursday reported 820 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, matching an all-time high set on Aug. 26, and authorities warned that cases were again rising rapidly.

Moscow recorded 3,445 new infections in the last 24 hours, the most reported in a single day since July 31 following a case surge over the summer, authorities said. There were 21,438 cases recorded nationwide, they said.

The Kremlin told reporters that officials were not discussing the idea of reimposing lockdown measures or other restrictions, but that the government and regional officials were monitoring the situation closely.

“As far as I know, despite the increase in numbers, no decisions have yet been made anywhere (in Russia),” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

Thirty-six regions have recorded case increases this week, Anna Popova, the head of consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, said on Wednesday.

She said the virus was spreading fastest in regions where there were fewer vaccinated people. Russia, which has a population of more than 144 million, says almost 40 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Russia has recorded a total of 7,354,995 cases, authorities say.

The government coronavirus task force says 201,445 people have died of coronavirus-related causes so far, while the federal statistics agency gives a higher number of 365,000 deaths from April 2020 to July 2021.

Reuters calculations based on official statistics show there were 528,000 excess deaths between April 2020 and July 2021. Some epidemiologists say excess deaths are the best way to measure the real death toll from COVID-19.

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