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Russia’s Covid-19 deaths reach new five-day high

Saturday is the fifth straight day the country has set a new record as it battles the surging Delta variant.

Russia on Saturday reported 697 Covid-19 deaths in the previous 24 hours, the fifth straight day the country has set a new record as it battles the surging Delta variant.

It also recorded 24,439 new coronavirus infections, the highest figure since the middle of January when Russia was emerging from its second wave of the pandemic.

Delta variant wreaks havoc

Russia on Thursday reported 672 coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, according to a government tally, setting a pandemic high of fatalities for the third day in a row.

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The country is battling a surging outbreak driven by the highly infectious Delta variant and worsened by a lagging jab drive, with President Vladimir Putin urging Russians on national television Wednesday to get vaccinated.

The daily death toll released Thursday topped Wednesday’s record of 669 and Tuesday’s of 652.

As of Thursday, just 17.4 million of Russia’s population of about 146 million people — or about 12 percent — had been fully vaccinated, according to the Gogov website, which tallies Covid data from the regions.

But even as Russia struggles to vaccinate its population, Moscow Mayor Sobyanin on Thursday urged the city’s residents who had been inoculated more than six months ago to already get a booster jab with the country’s homegrown Sputnik V vaccine or the one-dose Sputnik Light.

Russia has the highest official toll from Covid-19 in Europe — even as authorities have been accused of downplaying the severity of the country’s outbreak.

Under a broader definition for deaths linked to coronavirus, statistics agency Rosstat at the end of April said that Russia has seen at least 270,000 fatalities.

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