Russia’s daily Covid death toll passes 1,000 for first time

Russia reported 1,002 deaths from the coronavirus on Saturday, the first time the country’s daily number has passed the 1,000 mark since the start of the pandemic.

New Covid-19 cases confirmed in the previous 24 hours numbered 33,208, setting a record for the fifth consecutive day, the Russian coronavirus taskforce said.

Russian authorities have blamed a slow vaccination campaign for the sharp rise of infections and deaths. The surge in numbers prompted the health ministry this week to ask retired medics who have been vaccinated to return to hospitals.

Data published by the coronavirus taskforce on Saturday shows that an estimated 45% of the country’s population may have an immunity to Covid-19 after receiving a vaccine or recovering from the illness. In Moscow, the figure is 61% and is at 64% in the region surrounding the capital.

Russia was quick to develop and launch its Sputnik V vaccine when the coronavirus pandemic struck last year, but take-up has been slow, with many Russians citing distrust of the authorities and fear of new medical products.

Only about 48 million out of Russia’s population of 144 million are fully vaccinated, according to the latest data from the coronavirus taskforce, with 51 million having received one shot.

The latest figures brought Russia’s total official death toll to 222,315, with a total of 7,958,384 cases.

The Rosstat statistic service, which keeps a separate count of coronavirus deaths, said this month that about 418,000 deaths were recorded between April 2020 and August 2021.

The excess mortality in Russia, which some epidemiologists say is the best way to measure the impact of a pandemic, reached 575,000 additional deaths in the same period in comparison with the average mortality rate in 2015-2019.

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