Russia reports highest daily death toll from Covid-19

MOSCOW.Russia on Wednesday reported more than 900 daily coronavirus deaths for the first time, as the country struggles with stubbornly high infection rates driven by the Delta variant of the virus as well as a low vaccination take-up.

A government tally recorded 929 Covid-19 deaths during the past 24 hours, Russia’s highest daily virus death toll since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The new figures bring Russia’s total deaths from coronavirus to 212,625 — the highest toll in Europe.

The world’s fifth worst-hit country with more than 7.5 million infections, Russia had seen cases climb since August as vaccinations stalled.

While several Russia-made jabs had been available for months, authorities reportedly struggled to inoculate a vaccine-sceptic population.

Independent polls show that more than half of Russians do not plan to get a shot.

As of Wednesday, just under 30 per cent of the population had been fully vaccinated, according to the Gogov website, which tallies Covid-19 data from the regions.

The surging infections had come without any real pandemic restrictions to limit the spread, but several regions have re-introduced QR codes for access to public places.

But Moscow — the epicentre of Russia’s outbreak — has so far withheld from bringing back restrictions.

Authorities say that the highly contagious Delta variant now accounts for all of the cases in the Russian capital.

Independent experts had accused authorities of downplaying the severity of the outbreak.

Under a broader definition for deaths linked to the coronavirus, statistics agency Rosstat reported in August that Russia had seen more than 350,000 fatalities.