Russian COVID spike persists, setting new death record

MOSCOW -- Russia reports a record number of COVID-19 infections and deaths, as it approaches a week without work to stem the sudden increase in cases.

Russian COVID spike persists, setting new death record

MOSCOW -- Russia reports a record number of COVID-19 infections and deaths, as it approaches a week without work to stem the sudden increase in cases.

According to the national coronavirus taskforce, 1,075 people died of the virus over the past day. There were 37,678 cases -- the highest single-day number of the pandemic.

The daily death rate is 33% higher than in September, and infections cases have increased by 70% in the last month.

Officials are frustrated that only about one-third (146 million) of Russia's population have been vaccinated. This puts a strain on Russia's health-care system and frustrates officials.

Faced with widespread opposition to vaccination, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russians to stop working between Oct. 30th and Nov. 7.

Many areas have added restrictions. They may close gyms, theaters, and sit-down restaurants, or limit them to customers who are able to show QR codes that confirm they are fully vaccinated.

According to the task force, Russia has seen 8.2 million cases and 229.528 deaths from coronavirus infections. This toll does not include deaths directly caused by the virus. Rosstat, the Russian national statistics service, has reported many thousands of deaths where the virus was a contributing factor.

Russia was the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccination, and launched Sputnik V in Aug 2020. However, the slow pace of uptake is partly due to inconsistent signals from authorities.

Sputnik V, three other domestic vaccines were extolled by the state-controlled media, but they often criticised Western-made shots. This message was seen as causing doubts about vaccines generally.

Putin lamented Russian vaccine hesitancy and said that there are only two options for everyone: to either get sick or get vaccinated. There is no way to walk between the raindrops."

Putin responded this week to a question about Russia making vaccines compulsory.

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