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Russia lowers vaccination targets amid record deaths

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Vincent Kalut / Photonews via Getty Images

  • By the end of summer, Russia will not be able to reach its target of 60% vaccination rate.
  • The country has recorded 652 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours.
  • Stimulated by the Delta variant, the infection rate is rising.

The Kremlin admitted on Tuesday that Russia could not reach its 60% vaccination target by the end of summer due to the highest number of daily deaths in Russia.

While Russia is trying to get its citizens vaccinated, it has been grappling with the recent surge in infections caused by the highly contagious delta variant.

Official government statistics report that a total of 652 people have died from the coronavirus in the country in the past 24 hours, breaking the record set in December last year.

Russia’s second largest city, St. Petersburg, also reported a record daily death toll of 119. The city will host the quarter-finals of the European Cup 2020 on Friday.

In the past few weeks, St. Petersburg and the capital Moscow have faced an influx of new cases. Authorities have reintroduced virus restrictions and taken actions to promote slow vaccination efforts.

Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said at a video conference of the Russian Coronavirus Task Force that “the situation is very tense, especially in large cities.”

He added: “182,000 hospital beds are allocated and 151,000 patients are receiving treatment.”

However, he said that Russia’s vaccination rate has “significantly increased.”

In recent weeks, the government has made every effort to strengthen Russia’s vaccination efforts. Although free vaccination has been provided since December, vaccination efforts have been faltering.

According to the Gogov website, as of Tuesday, 22.2 million of the approximately 146 million people had received at least one dose of the vaccine. The website collected Covid-19 data from various regions and the media.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov admitted on Tuesday that Russia is “impossible” to reach its vaccination target and immunize 60% of the population before the fall.

The situation is “extremely difficult”

“Just this week, the number of people hoping to be vaccinated began to increase more or less,” Peskov told reporters.

The mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, once stated that the more contagious delta variant first discovered in India accounted for 90% of cases in the capital.

In order to curb the spread of infection, the mayor ordered Moscow companies to send 30% of unvaccinated employees and restaurants home, and only allow internal customers who have been vaccinated or infected within the past six months to return home.

Sobyanin said at a government meeting on Tuesday: “The situation in Moscow is still extremely difficult,” adding that new infections are still at “very high levels.”

Moscow has also become the first Russian city to introduce mandatory vaccination, requiring at least 60% of service industry workers to be fully vaccinated by mid-August.

At least a dozen Russian regions have followed suit, requiring certain citizen groups to obtain one of Russia’s four vaccines-Sputnik V, EpiVacCorona, CoviVac, and single-dose Sputnik Light.

However, public opinion polls show that the Russian people are still skeptical of domestic vaccines, and the Kremlin insists that Russian vaccination is voluntary.

According to statistics from Agence France-Presse, the number of infected people on Tuesday increased by 20,616 nationwide, bringing Russia’s number of cases to nearly 5.5 million, ranking fifth in the world.

With 134,545 deaths from the virus, Russia is the country with the highest number of deaths due to Covid-19 in Europe-even though the authorities have been accused of downplaying the severity of the country’s outbreak.

Based on a broader definition of coronavirus-related deaths, the statistical agency Rosstat stated at the end of April that there were at least 270,000 deaths in Russia.

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