As vaccine rollout across Europe has largely brought the Covid-19 pandemic under control, massively reducing hospitalisations and deaths from the coronavirus, the picture in Russia is much bleaker with daily deaths reaching a record high of 852 on Tuesday.
Whilst most European countries doubled down on measures to curb the spread of the virus, imposing strict confinement measures and restricting civil liberties, Russia has eschewed most measures even while the highly contagious Delta variant has ripped through the nation since June.
The state has been wary of imposing any measures that could be to the detriment of Russia's fragile economy and has refused any restrictive measures. Face masks, though officially mandatory, are mostly absent in public spaces and social distancing recommendations are rarely adhered to.
The latest figures, reported by the Russian government, make Russia worse affected than any European country. Alarmingly, the peaks for coronavirus deaths in EU Member States that show up as spikes on graphs are sustained plateaus in Russia, where daily deaths have been close to 800 since early July. Daily infections are around 20,000 for the last two weeks and reached 21,559 on Tuesday.
In total, 205,531 people have died from Covid-19 in Russia since the outbreak of the pandemic, according to a tightly restricted definition of death from the virus set by the Russian government.
Rosstat – a non-governmental Russian statistics agency – put the figure at over 350,000 at the end of July 2021.
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Vaccination in the country has stalled despite efforts of authorities to promote the Russian-developed Sputnik V vaccine, which has yet to be approved by the World Health Organisation. Latest government figures indicate that just 28.6% of the population is fully vaccinated.
President Vladimir Putin is currently isolating after a positive case was detected in a meeting room in the Kremlin. Russian authorities have not confirmed for how long he will be quarantining.
The Brussels Times