Russia's daily virus deaths match record high

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Russia on Thursday matched its record coronavirus death toll, as the Delta variant and a slowing vaccine drive push up infections.

A government tally reported 820 fatalities over the past 24 hours and 21,438 new cases. It previously reported the same in late August.

Russia, the fifth worst-hit country globally by overall number of cases, has seen infections climb since August as vaccinations stall.

The capital Moscow—the epicentre of Russia's pandemic—has seen a spike over the past week with officials warning of rising hospital admissions.

Daily cases in the capital rose to 3,445, compared to 1,991 a day earlier.

Deputy mayor Anastasia Rakova said Wednesday the increase was due in part to a seasonal spike in respiratory illnesses and contact between people after the summer vacation.

She said the Delta variant now accounted for all cases in Moscow.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Russia has registered more than seven million cases and 201,445 deaths, the highest toll in Europe.

Authorities have been accused of downplaying the effects of the pandemic and, after a tight first lockdown in 2020, have refrained from introducing new restrictions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday he was unaware of plans to re-introduce lockdowns "despite the increase in numbers".

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

Several Russian vaccines have been available for months, but authorities have struggled to inoculate a vaccine-sceptic population.

Only 28 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, government data showed Thursday.

President Vladimir Putin said last week he was self-isolating after dozens of cases were detected in his inner circle.

© 2021 AFP

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