Moscow mayor says Covid-19 situation stabilising, but cases still high

The coronavirus task force reported 24,818 new cases in the last 24 hours. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Moscow's mayor said the Covid-19 situation was gradually stabilising after a surge in infections blamed on the more contagious Delta variant, but the new daily case tally remained high nationwide on Thursday (July 8).

The coronavirus task force reported 24,818 new cases in the last 24 hours, including 6,040 in the capital. Russia also reported 734 coronavirus-related deaths, close to a record daily high.

Officials have been scrambling to encourage or compel Russians to get vaccinated since infections began rising steeply last month. Demand for Covid-19 vaccine had been tepid, but authorities say it has now picked up significantly.

The mayor of Moscow, Russia's worst-hit region throughout the pandemic, told residents that hospital admissions for Covid-19 patients were still very high, though down slightly from a peak last week.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said the city of more than 12.5 million was now vaccinating around 100,000 people every day, giving authorities room not to impose new restrictions.

Police in Moscow said they had opened 55 criminal cases over fake certificates for vaccinations and PCR tests. Moscow residents need to be able to prove having had a vaccine, a negative test or immunity to be able to visit cafes or bars.

An online black market has sprung up to meet demand for people who still do not want to get vaccinated.

Police in the Kaliningrad region detained a health worker on Wednesday for allegedly selling vaccination certificates.

Russia has confirmed 5,707,452 coronavirus cases in all since the pandemic began 18 months ago.

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