Russia hits another record of daily COVID-19 deaths
MOSCOW — Russia registered another daily record of coronavirus deaths Tuesday as rapidly surging infection rates raised pressure on the country’s health care system and prompted the government to suggest declaring a nonworking week.
The government task force reported 1,015 coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. That brought the total death toll to 225,325 — by far the highest in Europe. It also registered 33,740 new infections over the past day.
Amid a spike in infections and deaths, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova suggested introducing a weeklong nonworking period starting Oct. 30 that includes an extended public holiday. She said the Cabinet will ask President Vladimir Putin to authorize the move.
Until now, the Kremlin has ruled out a new nationwide lockdown like the one early on in the pandemic that dealt a heavy blow to the economy and sapped Putin’s popularity
The daily coronavirus mortality numbers have been surging for weeks and topped 1,000 for the first time over the weekend amid sluggish vaccination rates, lax public attitude toward taking precuations and the government’s reluctance to toughen restrictions.
Russia boasted about becoming the first country in the world to authorize a coronavirus vaccine in August 2020 even though it was only tested on a few dozen of people at the time, proudly naming the shot Sputnik V after the world’s first satellite to underline the country’s scientific achievements.
While extolling Sputnik and three other domestic vaccines developed later, Russia’s state-controlled media chafed at the perceived flaws of Western-made shots, a controversial message that many observers saw as feeding public doubts about vaccines.