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Russia Record Daily COVID     10/16 06:11

   Russia's daily death toll from COVID-19 has exceeded 1,000 for the first 
time as the country faces a sustained wave of rising infections.

   MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's daily death toll from COVID-19 has exceeded 1,000 
for the first time as the country faces a sustained wave of rising infections.

   The national coronavirus task force on Saturday reported 1,002 deaths in the 
previous day, up from 999 on Friday, along with 33,208 new confirmed COVID-19 
cases, more than 1,000 higher than the day before.

   Authorities have tried to speed up the pace of vaccination with lotteries, 
bonuses and other incentives, but widespread vaccine skepticism and conflicting 
signals from officials stymied the efforts.

   The government said this week that about 43 million Russians, or about 29% 
of the country's nearly 146 million people, are fully vaccinated.

   Despite the mounting toll, the Kremlin has ruled out a new nationwide 
lockdown like the one early on in the pandemic that badly hurt the economy, 
eroding President Vladimir Putin's popularity. Instead, it has delegated the 
power to enforce coronavirus restrictions to regional authorities.

   Some of Russia's 85 regions have restricted attendance at large public 
events and limited access to theaters, restaurants and other venues. However, 
daily life is going on largely as normal in Moscow, St. Petersburg and many 
other Russian cities, with businesses operating as usual and mask mandates 
loosely enforced.

   Health Minister Mikhail Murashko acknowledged this week that medical 
facilities have come under growing strain and said that authorities have 
offered retired medics who have gotten vaccinated the option of returning to 
work.

   Overall, the coronavirus task force has registered more than 7,958,000 
confirmed cases and 222,315 deaths -- Europe's highest death toll. The official 
record ranks Russia as having the fifth-most pandemic deaths in the world 
following the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.

   However, state statistics agency Rosstat, which also counts deaths in which 
the virus wasn't considered the main cause, has reported a much higher pandemic 
death toll -- about 418,000 people with COVID-19 as of August. Based on that 
higher number, Russia would rank be the fourth hardest-hit nation in the world, 
ahead of Mexico.

 
 
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