Russia reports record coronavirus deaths third day in a row

A medical worker tends to patients infected with the Covid-19 at the Mariinsky Hospital in Saint Petersburg on July 7, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia on Saturday (Aug 14) recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll for a third day running, as the country continues to struggle with the Delta variant amid sluggish vaccination rates.

A government tally showed 819 fatalities over the past 24 hours and 22,144 new cases.

Russia, the fourth worst-hit country in the world in terms of cases, has since mid-June been hit by a new wave of infections driven by the aggressive Delta variant.

The new figures bring Russia's total fatalities from Covid-19 to 169,683 - the highest toll in Europe.

The figure only takes into account deaths where the virus was established as the primary cause of death after an autopsy.

Under a broader definition for deaths linked to the coronavirus, statistics agency Rosstat said that Russia has seen more than 300,000 fatalities as at the end of June.

The authorities have faced a vaccine-sceptic population, with a poll by the independent Levada Centre this week showing that 55 per cent of Russians do not plan on getting inoculated.

Moscow, the epicentre of Russia's outbreak, and a host of regions have introduced mandatory vaccination measures to speed up the country's inoculation drive, and President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly called on Russians to get vaccinated.

While Russia has three home-grown vaccines available to the population, it does not distribute any of the Western-made jabs.

As at Saturday, just over 32 million of Russia's some 146 million people had been fully vaccinated, according to the Gogov website which tallies Covid-19 data.

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