Health officials are recording 546 deaths in 24 hours amid a new wave of infections caused by the Delta variant.
Russia has recorded its highest number of COVID-19 deaths in a single day since early February, as a dramatic increase in infections fueled by the Delta variant grips the country.
The 546 deaths recorded on Tuesday mean that the official death toll from coronaviruses in Russia now stands at 130,347 people, according to the country’s emergency coronavirus task force, marking the sixth highest tally in the world.
Tuesday’s figure marked the highest death rate in a 24-hour period since February 11.
It came against the backdrop of a sharp rise in cases authorities attribute to the highly transmissible variant Delta, first identified in India.
The number of new infections recorded on Tuesday was 16,715, a figure twice as high as a month ago.
Amid the wave, authorities are pushing to speed up the slow vaccination rate across the country.
Russia has approved four domestically-made vaccines, but as of June 2, only 18 million of its 144 million people had received at least one dose of a vaccine.
Authorities are now trying to coax and force people to get vaccinated, offering those who do a chance to win new cars and apartments, while threatening others with loss of income and dismissal.
The Kremlin said on Tuesday that people who were not vaccinated against COVID-19 or who did not have immunity would be unable to work at all workplaces in Russia and that such people could be discriminated against.
“The reality is such that discrimination will inevitably set in. People without vaccination and immunity will not be able to work everywhere. It is not possible. It will pose a threat to those around them, ”Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Peskov’s comments came as the mayor of Moscow announced new restrictions in the event of a pandemic, saying the situation in the capital where the Delta variant of the virus is spreading remains “very difficult”.
Coronavirus infections began to increase in the Russian capital two weeks ago.
“The decisions we make are difficult, unpopular, but necessary to save lives,” Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in an online statement, adding that more than 14,000 people with severe COVID-19 remain in hospitals across the country. city.
Sobyanin attributed the peak of infection to the Delta variant.
It has banned all entertainment and sporting events attended by more than 500 people from Tuesday.
And as of Monday, all restaurants, cafes and bars in Moscow will only allow customers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, recovered from the virus in the past six months, or can provide a negative coronavirus test. performed within the previous 72 hours.
To prove their credentials, customers will need to get a QR code from one of the many government websites.
Life in Moscow, like most of Russia, has remained largely normal after the lockdown restrictions were lifted last year.
Russian authorities have resisted the closure of businesses or the imposition of another lockdown when infections soared in the fall and winter, and continue to reject the idea of a lockdown during the current outbreak.
Last week, the Kremlin blamed the recent increase in cases on people’s reluctance to get vaccinated and on “nihilism.”