Russia hits new record for coronavirus infections
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Saturday reported a record number of new coronavirus infections as authorities hope to stem the rising contagion by keeping most people off work for the next week.
The government’s coronavirus task force reported 40,251 new infections in 24 hours, exceeding the previous record 40,096 reported on Thursday. It said 1,160 people died of the virus over the past day, three fewer than the record set a day earlier.
That brought Russia’s official COVID-19 death count to 237,380, by far the largest in Europe. More than 8.47 million infections have been recorded in the country of 146 million during the pandemic.
The task force counts only deaths directly caused by the virus. The state statistics service Rosstat, which counts COVID-19 deaths by wider criteria, released figures Friday indicating a much higher toll.
Rosstat counted 44,265 deaths in September caused directly by the virus, or in which it was a contributing cause or of patients believed to have been infected. That would bring Russia’s pandemic-long death toll to about 461,000 as of the end of September, nearly twice the task force’s count.
Infections and death have risen sharply since mid-September.
To contain the spread of infection, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a nonworking period from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7, when most state agencies and private businesses are to suspend operations. He encouraged Russia’s worst-hit regions to start sooner, and some ordered most residents off work earlier this week.
Moscow introduced the measure beginning Thursday, shutting down kindergartens, schools, gyms, entertainment venues and most stores, and restricting restaurants to takeout or delivery. Food stores, pharmacies and companies operating key infrastructure remained open.
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