Russia reported 679 coronavirus deaths on Friday, a record 24 to 4 pandemic-related deaths for the fourth day in a row, according to a government tally.
Russia, the fifth most affected country in the world, is grappling with an outbreak caused by the highly infectious variant of the Delta and made worse by a late vaccination campaign.
The surge in infections prompted President Vladimir Putin again this week to urge Russians to get vaccinated during a televised phone call with the nation.
But despite the worsening number of cases and the number of repeated deaths, officials continued major events in person, including Euro 2020 football matches in Russia’s second city of St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg recorded 101 deaths on Friday, slightly below its early-week high of 119.
Organizers said the Spain-Switzerland quarter-final later on Friday would go ahead despite the upsurge in infections, in front of thousands of spectators.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said the Delta variant, first identified in India, now accounts for 90% of new cases in the city.
The authorities in the capital have introduced a multitude of restrictions.
Sobyanin recently ordered offices to send home a third of their workforce, except for employees who had been vaccinated, and said 60% of people working in the service sector should be fully vaccinated by mid -August.
Restaurants in Moscow have been ordered to only allow inside customers who have been vaccinated or infected in the past six months.
The Kremlin had set a target of fully immunizing 60% of Russia’s population by September, but admitted earlier this week that it would not be able to meet that target, even though free jabs are available. since early December.
And although authorities are struggling to bring vaccine-skepticism into clinics, they are now pushing those who have already been stung to do so again.
Sobyanin this week urged Muscovites inoculated more than six months ago to be boosted with the local Sputnik V vaccine or single-dose Sputnik Light.
Russia, with 136,565 deaths from the virus, has the highest official Covid-19 toll in Europe – even though authorities have been accused of downplaying the severity of the country’s outbreak.
As part of a broader definition of coronavirus-related deaths, statistics agency Rosstat said in late April that Russia had recorded at least 270,000 deaths.