Russia on Saturday reported a record 1,075 COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours as Europe’s hardest hit country with dramatically low vaccination rates braces for nationwide curbs from next week.
Despite multiple pleas from President Vladimir Putin and the availability of the home-grown Sputnik V vaccine, only 36 percent of Russians are fully vaccinated.
According to fresh government figures, the country saw a record 37,678 new virus cases on Saturday.
This brings the official death toll to 229,528 -- the highest on the continent -- even as authorities are accused of vastly downplaying the effects of the pandemic.
Figures by 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 epicenter of Russia’s outbreak -- will shut non-essential services between October 28 and November 7.
Putin also ordered a nationwide paid week off starting October 30 to curb fast spreading infections.
The Kremlin said the 69-year-old will have no in-person meetings during the non-working period.
Putin this week linked Russia’s high death rates to what he called an “unfortunately” low vaccination rate and urged Russians to show “responsibility” and get the jab.
Although it is being used in dozens of countries, Sputnik V is not approved by the EU or by the World Health Organization.
Russia confirms cases of new, more contagious COVID-19 variant: ReportsRussia has reported some COVID-19 infections with a new coronavirus variant believed to be even more contagious than the delta one, the RIA news ... Coronavirus
EU decision on Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine ‘impossible’ this year: SourceThe EU drug regulator is unlikely to decide whether to approve Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine until at least the first quarter of 2022 because ... Coronavirus
Russia's COVID-19 infections over 8 million, daily deaths highRussia’s total number of coronavirus infections has topped 8 million, more than 5 percent of the population, and the daily infection toll hit a new ... Coronavirus