Russia sees record daily Covid-19 cases amid Omicron surge

Russia is already one the world's worst-hit countries by caseload. PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia on Friday (Jan 21) reported a record number of new coronavirus infections over the previous 24 hours, a government tally showed, with officials warning of surging cases driven by the Omicron variant.

A government website reported 49,513 new infections in Russia, surpassing the previous record of 41,335 set in November.

Russia is already one the world's worst-hit countries by caseload.

The number of cases across Russia has risen sharply in recent days, with the authorities predicting an imminent surge due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

The new record set comes one day after Moscow - the epicentre of the outbreak in Russia - said it has seen its highest number of new cases.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned last week that the country has two weeks to prepare for a surge in cases, calling for more testing and vaccinations.

The developers of Russia's flagship vaccine, Sputnik V, said this week that its jab demonstrated "strong protection" against Omicron, pointing to a study carried out by the Spallanzani Institute in Italy.

With four vaccines widely available for months, Russians remain reluctant to get jabbed. Just under half of the population is fully vaccinated.

Russia's government figures have reported 324,752 deaths from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic - the highest death toll in Europe.

Those figures are contradicted by statistics agency Rosstat, which counts Covid-19 deaths under a broader definition. It says the overall death toll is close to double the official figure.

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