Russia sees record daily virus cases amid Omicron surge
Russia on Friday reported a record number of new coronavirus infections over the previous 24 hours, a government tally showed, with officials warning of surging cases driven by the Omicron variant.
A government website reported 49,513 new infections in Russia, which is already one the world's worst-hit countries by caseload, surpassing the previous record set in November of 41,335.
The number of cases across Russia has risen sharply in recent days, with authorities predicting an imminent surge due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned last week that the country had two weeks to prepare for a surge in cases, calling for more testing and vaccinations.
The developers of Russia's flagship vaccine, Sputnik V, said this week that its jab demonstrated "strong protection" against Omicron, pointing to a study carried out by the Spallanzani Institute in Italy.
With four vaccines widely available for months, Russians remain reluctant to get jabbed with just under half of the population fully vaccinated.
Russia's government figures have reported 324,752 deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic—the highest death toll in Europe.
Those figures are contradicted by statistics agency Rosstat, which counts COVID deaths under a broader definition and says the overall death toll is close to double the official figure.
© 2022 AFP