As Russia Reports Record COVID Deaths, Moscow Closes Largest Vaccination Center

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Russia on Tuesday reported a record number of coronavirus deaths for the third time this month, as authorities in Moscow shut down the city’s largest vaccination center, even though low vaccination rates are contributing to the worsening of the pandemic.

Moscow authorities announced Monday that the capital’s largest vaccination point in Gostiny Dvor, a huge exhibition space, would be closed in order to organize “cultural events” instead.

The shutdown comes as Russia’s state coronavirus task force reported 895 new deaths, the country’s highest daily death toll during the pandemic and 25,110 new confirmed cases on Tuesday. In Moscow alone, daily new infections have almost quadrupled from around 1,100 in early September to around 4,000 this week.

Even as the vaccination center closes, Moscow’s mayor Sergei Sobyanin has pledged to start offering quick and free COVID-19 tests at shopping malls and government service centers.

For more Associated Press reporting, see below.

On October 5, Russia recorded its highest number of daily coronavirus deaths as cases linked to the peak of the Delta variant amid a lackluster vaccination campaign and some anti-virus restrictions. People wearing protective masks walk from the underground passage under the street with the Historical Museum and the Kremlin in the background in Moscow on October 5, 2021.
Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP via Getty Images

This month, the death records have arrived every two days: the previous record of 890 deaths was on Sunday, and the previous one of 887 deaths occurred on Friday.

The Kremlin has said there are concerns about the situation, but it is still not considering a nationwide lockdown or any other nationwide action.

A number of Russian regions have limited participation in mass events and restricted access to certain public places, such as theaters, cinemas, restaurants and bars, only to those who have been vaccinated, recently recovered from the COVID-19 or have tested negative within the past 72 years. hours. But critics argue that these measures are not enough to slow the surge.

In parts of the country, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, life remains largely normal, businesses operate as usual, and mask mandates are poorly enforced.

Meanwhile, Russia’s vast, yet severely underfunded health system has started to show signs of being overwhelmed by the epidemic.

Russian media reported that long lines of ambulances were re-forming outside hospitals in St. Petersburg, the country’s second largest city, and a desperate ambulance team in the city of Vladimir 180 kilometers away (about 110 miles) east of Moscow driving a COVID -19 patient to a local government building after failing to find her a hospital bed.

Authorities blamed the low use of vaccines. Commenting on the record number of deaths reported on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the “main cause” of the upsurge in deaths was “the insufficient level of immunization”.

“The virus is getting more and more angry and the level of vaccination is insufficient. And as a rule, those who have not been vaccinated become seriously ill and, unfortunately, die,” Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.

Since last week, 33.5% of Russia’s 146 million people have received at least one injection of a coronavirus vaccine, and only 27.4% have been fully immunized.

According to Gogov.ru, an independent website that tracks vaccinations in Russia, vaccination rates fell to April levels, after increasing between June and August, when dozens of Russian regions made vaccinations mandatory for certain groups. of people. The website estimates that around 129,000 people per day receive their first injections, and a total of 244,000 first and second injections per day are currently given in Russia.

Peskov attributed the slowness of the vaccination campaign to “an insufficiently active campaign explaining that there is no alternative” to vaccination.

Experts pointed to several other factors, such as mistrust over the approval and deployment of the dominant household vaccine, Sputnik V, even though at the time it had not completed the large-scale trials needed to establish its safety. and its effectiveness, and the lack of motivation to get the shots fired at a time when few restrictions are in place are mixed signals from authorities about the outbreak.

In a puzzling message, some Russian news outlets alerted on Monday that the head of the country’s public health agency Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova had banned all mass events in light of the wave, only to correct herself later than Popova n ‘had in fact announced no new restrictions, but rather referred to those already in place that ban public events to more than 3,000 people.

In total, the Russian Coronavirus Task Force has reported more than 7.6 million confirmed cases and nearly 212,000 deaths. However, reports from the Russian state statistical service Rosstat that count coronavirus-related deaths retroactively reveal much higher death figures.

Russia's COVID Record
Russia reported a record daily death toll from COVID-19 on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, the third record number this month. In this thread from Monday, July 12, 2021, a medical worker wearing protective equipment escorts a man suspected of having coronavirus to a hospital in Kommunarka, outside Moscow, Russia.
Pavel Golovkin, File / AP Photo


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