Russia reported a record 1,075 Covid deaths in 24 hours on Saturday as Europe’s hardest-hit country with dramatically low vaccination rates prepares for nationwide curbs from next week.
Despite a number of pleas from the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, and the availability of the home-produced Sputnik V vaccine, only 36% of Russians are fully vaccinated.
According to government figures, the country registered a record 37,678 new Covid cases on Saturday.
The official death toll is now 229,528, the highest on the continent.
Authorities have been accused of vastly downplaying the effects of the pandemic. Figures from the governmental statistics agency Rosstat paint a far darker picture, suggesting that more than 400,000 people had died from coronavirus by the end of August.
Moscow, the centre of Russia’s outbreak, will shut non-essential services between 28 October and 7 November. Putin also ordered a nationwide paid week off starting on 30 October, during which the Kremlin said the president would have no in-person meetings.
Putin linked Russia’s high death rates this week to what he called an unfortunately low vaccination rate and urged Russians to show responsibility and get the jab.