As Lockdown Eases, Russia’s COVID-19 Cases Approach 800K

Russia confirmed 5,848 new coronavirus infections Thursday, bringing the country’s official number of cases to 795,038, The Moscow Times reported.

Over the past 24 hours 147 people have died, bringing the total toll to 12,892 — a rate considerably lower than in many other countries hit hard by the pandemic.

A total of 8,277 people recovered over the last 24 hours, bringing the overall number of recoveries to 580,330. The last time Russia reported fewer than 6,000 cases was on April 29.

The highest number of new cases were in Moscow, the western Siberian region of Khanty-Mansiysk and Sverdlovsk in the Urals.

Russia’s fatality rate has remained low compared to other badly-hit countries, raising speculation that Moscow could be underreporting figures.

Russian authorities began easing anti-virus measures in June ahead of a massive World War II military parade in Moscow and a nationwide vote on constitutional reforms that now allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036.

Both events were initially postponed due to the epidemic.

Moscow plans to open cinemas and theaters on Aug. 1. In the capital, masks are mandatory in stores and on public transport but not in the streets.

Several institutes in Russia are working on a coronavirus vaccine.

Last week the Russian Defense Ministry said it had developed a “safe” vaccine following clinical trials on a group of volunteers.

The trials are ongoing, and the Defense Ministry expects clinical trials to be fully completed in the coming weeks.