For fourth day in row, Russia reports more than 10,000 new cases

While cases rise significantly, Russia’s death toll – at 1,537 people – is far lower than many other countries.

The number of new coronavirus cases in Russia rose by 10,559 over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide tally to 165,929, the coronavirus crisis response centre said on Wednesday.

It was the fourth consecutive day that cases had risen by more than 10,000.

It also reported 86 new fatalities from COVID-19, bringing the total death toll in Russia to 1,537.

The mortality rate has slowed in recent days and remains much lower, in relative terms, than many other countries.

Russia has said its lower mortality rate was because its outbreak occurred later than in many other countries which gave the authorities more time to prepare, as well as widespread testing and tracking of infections, but critics have cast doubt on the numbers.

Russia has been in partial lockdown since the end of March to curb the spread of the virus.

People in Moscow can leave home to visit the nearest food shop or chemist, walk their dog or throw out rubbish but need special passes for other activities.

President Vladimir Putin has ordered the nationwide lockdown to remain in place until Monday, when Russia finishes celebrating its Labour Day and World War Two Victory Day holidays.

Putin was set to chair a government meeting to discuss a gradual withdrawal from virus lockdown later on Wednesday.

Moscow, which has emerged as the epicentre of the pandemic in Russia, has recorded 85,973 cases and 866 deaths.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has said he believes 2 percent of Moscow, with a population of 12.7 million, had been infected, a much higher figure than official statistics show.

“It is obvious that the threat is growing,” he said on his website.

He told Rossiya-1 TV station that the Moscow authorities might cut the number of digital permits issued for travel across the city if the situation worsened.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Russia’s second-most senior official after Putin, told the president on Thursday he had tested positive for coronavirus and was temporarily stepping down to recover.

First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov is now serving as acting prime minister in his absence.

On Friday, another Russian cabinet member, Construction Minister Vladimir Yakushev, announced he had been diagnosed with the virus and would be treated in hospital. Dmitry Volkov, one of his deputies, also tested positive, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, Russian medics have been complaining about their working conditions.

After three doctors fell out of windows in 10 days, there is concern regarding the safety of medical whistle-blowers who raise issues about the conditions they work in.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies