Russia’s daily COVID-19 death toll has reached a record high for a second day in a row amid a surge in cases blamed by the authorities on a low vaccination rate that has forced the imposition of a nationwide workplace shutdown.
The government coronavirus task force on November 3 reported 1,189 fatalities, surpassing the previous day’s record of 1,178 deaths.
It was the third record number of fatalities in four days, after 1,161 deaths were registered on October 31 as the pandemic continued to ravage the country.
The authorities also reported 40,443 new infections in the last 24 hours, including 6,827 in Moscow.
More than 8.5 million infections have been recorded among its 146 million inhabitants during the pandemic. Russia’s official COVID-19 death count stands at 242,060, the largest in Europe and fourth-highest in the world behind the United States, Brazil, and India.
But 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 on October 29 indicating Russia’s death toll was about 462,000 as of the end of September, nearly twice the task force’s count at that time.
To contain the spread of infection, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a paid “nonwork” period from October 30 to November 7 during which most state agencies and private businesses are to suspend operations.
Several Russian regions said they could impose additional restrictions or extend the workplace shutdown to fight the surge in cases.