Russia suffers a record 929 Covid deaths as cases surge and country’s crumbling healthcare system struggles to vaccinate the population

  • Kremlin blames the rising cases on low vaccination rate – 29% are fully jabbed
  • But Vladimir Putin’s reluctance to impose strict lockdowns could also be a cause 
  • Russia recorded 929 new deaths on Wednesday – fourth record set this month 

Russia suffered more than 900 Covid deaths on Wednesday as cases surge and the country’s crumbling healthcare system struggles to vaccinate the population.  

The Kremlin has blamed low vaccine uptake, with just 29 percent of Russians fully-jabbed, but experts say the outbreak is also fuelled by Vladimir Putin’s reluctance to impose strict lockdown rules. 

The coronavirus task force reported 929 new deaths on Wednesday, the fourth time this month that daily Covid fatalities have reached record highs. The previous record, of 895 deaths, was registered on Tuesday. 

The task force also reported 25,133 new cases on Wednesday, around 90 percent of its peak infections recorded in late December last year.  

Russia already has Europe’s highest Covid death toll, at over 212,000 people, but some official data suggests that is an undercount. 

Medics transport a patient into a specialist hospital for coronavirus sufferers in Moscow, Russia, on Wednesday

The coronavirus task force reported 929 new deaths on Wednesday, the fourth time this month that daily Covid fatalities have reached record highs. The previous record, of 895 deaths, was registered Tuesday

The task force also reported 25,133 new cases on Wednesday, around 90 percent of its peak infections recorded in late December last year

Countries reporting the most Covid deaths per day

UNITED STATES: 1,857

RUSSIA: 891

MEXICO: 503

BRAZIL: 483

INDIA: 255

*seven-day average

The rise in infections and deaths began in late September. The Kremlin has blamed it on too few Russians getting vaccinated. As of Tuesday, almost 33% of Russia’s 146 million people had received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine, and 29% were fully vaccinated.

Despite the surge, government officials rejected the idea of imposing a lockdown and said regional authorities would take steps to stem the spread of the virus.

A number of Russian regions have limited attendance at large public events and restricted access to theatres, restaurants and other places to people who have been vaccinated, recently recovered from COVID-19 or tested negative in the previous 72 hours.

In some regions, Russia’s vast yet severely underfunded health care system has started to show signs of being overwhelmed by the outbreak.

Russian media have reported long lines of ambulances once again forming in front of hospitals in St. Petersburg.

One desperate ambulance crew in the city of Vladimir, 110 miles east of Moscow, reportedly drove a COVID-19 patient to a local government building after failing to find a hospital bed for her.

On Tuesday, the presidential envoy in the Ural Mountains district – a part of central Russia that encompasses six regions – said 95% of the hospital beds for COVID-19 patients there have been filled.

‘The situation is very dire,’ Vladimir Yakushev was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

Asked by reporters if the Kremlin will offer support to regions if they impose local lockdowns to tackle the surge of infections, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov urged those authorities to think twice.

He said regional authorities have the power to decide which measures to introduce but ‘declaring some kind of lockdown is an absolutely undesirable scenario for any region.’

Overall, Russia’s coronavirus task force has reported over 7.6 million confirmed cases and more than 212,000 deaths.

However, reports by Russia’s state statistical service Rosstat that tally coronavirus-linked deaths retroactively reveal much higher mortality numbers.

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