Russia on Saturday recorded new records for daily infections and deaths from the novel coronavirus, two days after surpassing the two million sick mark.
Health authorities reported 24,822 new infections on Saturday and 476 new deaths, for a total of 2,064,748 million cases detected since the start of the year and 35,778 deaths.
This toll, reflecting a much lower lethality than elsewhere in the world, is however questionable, the authorities only counting the deaths which, after autopsy, were established as the primary cause of the coronavirus.
The highest number of new daily cases was detected on Saturday in Moscow (7,168) and in the country’s second city, St. Petersburg (2,476), the other regions recording between dozens and hundreds of new infections.
“We have a lot of calls right now, the number of patients is growing,” Dmitri, driver of an ambulance carrying a medical team responsible for taking samples for coronavirus screening in St. Petersburg, told AFP, who every morning visits about twenty addresses.
“People are scared and they call a doctor as soon as they have a small cough,” says Lioudmila, one of the two nurses on this team.
If the Russian authorities consider the situation “worrying”, they nevertheless assert that it remains under control, and have for the moment ruled out any new national confinement so as not to shut down the Russian economy, already weakened by a strict containment in the spring, as well as by Western sanctions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke in October of “targeted and justified” measures that could be taken independently in Russian regions.
Russia is also counting on the production of vaccines against the coronavirus it has developed, including Sputnik V touted by Vladimir Putin, but which has so far aroused suspicion internationally.