World In Russia, COVID-19 surge shows no signs of abating
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MOSCOW (AP) — Daily coronavirus cases and deaths in Russia remained at all-time highs Wednesday as more regions announced extending existing restrictions in an effort to tame the country's unrelenting surge of infections.
Russia's state coronavirus task force reported over 40,000 new confirmed cases from a day earlier, the most since the start of the pandemic. It was the fifth time in seven days that the country set a daily case record.
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The task force also reported 1,189 deaths, another daily record.
Russia is five days into a nationwide non-working period that the government introduced to curb the spread of the virus. Last month, Russian 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 non-working days, if necessary.
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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. Two other regions — the Tomsk region in Siberia and the Chelyabinsk region in the Ural Mountains — followed suit Wednesday.
“One non-working week is not enough to break the chain of infection,” Tomsk governor Sergei Zhvachkin said.
Moscow starts nonworking period as infections, deaths soar
MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian capital on Thursday started a nonworking period intended to stem contagion as daily infections and deaths from COVID-19 surged to all-time highs. The government coronavirus task force reported 1,159 deaths in 24 hours, the largest daily tally since the pandemic began. It has brought the country’s official coronavirus death toll to 235,057, by far the highest in Europe. The confirmed daily infections surged to 40,096, topping a previous record reached earlier this week.In a bid to contain the spread, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a nonworking period from Oct. 30 to Nov.
Governors of at least three other regions have said they were considering extending the non-working period.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that no decision on a possible nationwide extension has been made.
“If any other decisions are (made), we will inform you,” Peskov said during a conference call with reporters.
Russia’s weekslong surge in infections and deaths comes amid low vaccination rates, lax public attitudes toward taking precautions and the government’s reluctance to toughen restrictions.
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.
Ukraine president urges vaccinations as contagion soars
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's president on Friday pleaded with citizens to get vaccinated quickly as daily infections soared to another all-time high, fueled by a slow vaccine uptake. The Health Ministry reported 26,870 new confirmed infections in 24 hours — the highest level since the start of the pandemic. It recorded 648 daily deaths to bring the pandemic death toll to 66,852. Authorities blamed the surge in infections and deaths on a low level of vaccination. Just 16.4% percent of people in the nation of 41 million are fully vaccinated — the second-lowest rate in Europe after Armenia’s 7%.
In all, Russia’s state coronavirus task force has reported more than 8.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 242,000 deaths in the pandemic — by far the highest death toll in Europe.
However, reports by Russia’s state statistical service Rosstat that tally coronavirus-linked deaths retroactively reveal much higher mortality numbers. A report released last week indicated that some 462,000 people with COVID-19 died between April 2020 and September of this year.
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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