Russia sets another COVID-19 daily death record with 1,195

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A medical staff member wearing a special suit to protect against COVID-19 treats a patient with coronavirus at an ICU at the Regional Clinical Hospital 1, in Krasnodar, south Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Coronavirus deaths in Russia hit another daily record several days after a nationwide order for many Russians to stay off work took effect. Russia’s state coronavirus task force has reported record daily infections or deaths almost every day for the last month. (AP Photo/Vitali Timkiv)

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December 25 2021 12:00 am

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has set another record for daily coronavirus deaths as it struggles through a long surge of infections that has prompted restrictions throughout the country.

The national coronavirus task force on Thursday said 1,195 people died of COVID-19 over the past day, exceeding the 1,189 recorded the previous day. Since late September, Russia has tallied new highs in infections or deaths almost daily.

The task force reported 40,217 new infections, down from the record 40,993 on Oct. 31.

Less than 35% of Russia’s nearly 146 million people have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, even though Russia approved a domestically developed vaccine against the coronavirus months before most countries.

Russia’s state coronavirus task force has reported more than 8.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 243,000 deaths during the pandemic.

Russia is six days into a nationwide nonworking period that the government introduced to curb the spread of the virus. Last month, President Vladimir Putin ordered many Russians to stay off work between Oct. 30 and Nov. 7. He authorized regional governments to extend the number of nonworking days, if necessary.

Officials in Russia’s Novgorod region, located 500 kilometers (310 miles) northwest of Moscow, said Monday that the time away from workplaces would last another week. Four other regions — the Tomsk region in Siberia, the Chelyabinsk region in the Ural Mountains, the Kursk and the Bryansk regions southwest of Moscow — followed suit Wednesday. The Smolensk region on the border with Belarus also extended the nonworking days, but only until Nov. 10.

Governors of at least three other regions have said they were considering extending the nonworking period.

In Moscow and the surrounding region, which together account for nearly 25% of new daily infections, the nonworking period won’t be extended beyond Nov. 7, officials said.

Certain restrictions will remain in place in the Russian capital, such as a stay-at-home order for older adults and a mandate for businesses to have 30% of their staff work from home. Access to theaters and museums is limited to those who either have been fully vaccinated, have recovered from COVID-19 within the last six months or can present a negative coronavirus test.

But reports by Russia’s state statistical service Rosstat that tally coronavirus-linked deaths retroactively reveal much higher mortality numbers than the task force’s. A report released last week indicated that about 462,000 people with COVID-19 died between April 2020 and last September.

Russian officials have said the task force only includes deaths for which COVID-19 was the main cause and uses data collected from medical facilities. Rosstat uses wider criteria for counting virus-related deaths and takes its numbers from civil registry offices where the process of registering a death is finalized.

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