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Russia Grapples with Omicron-Driven Infection Surge

Vladimir Putin (Via Vladimir Putin/Twitter)

Russia is facing an unprecedented wave of omicron-driven infections, with a record-breaking 63,205 new cases reported in a single day, marking the third consecutive daily record. The surge is largely attributed to the highly contagious omicron variant, which has been detected in 64 of the country’s 89 regions. Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova warned that the Omicron variant could lead to even more widespread infections, citing concerns that it may become the dominant strain.

Despite Russia being one of the first countries to approve and roll out a Covid-19 vaccine, vaccination rates remain a concern. Only about half of Russia’s 146 million people have been fully vaccinated, with low rates of booster shot administration. However, authorities have been taking steps to boost vaccination numbers, with everyone who received their primary vaccination more than six months ago eligible for a booster shot since July. An estimated 8.8 million people have received a booster jab.

Despite the surge in cases, the country’s state coronavirus task force reported 679 deaths, a figure similar to daily death counts in the past week. The total number of virus-linked deaths between April 2020 and October 2021 stands at over 625,000, significantly higher than the 326,112 deaths reported by the state coronavirus task force.

Vladimir Putin (Via Vladimir Putin/Twitter)

Government officials acknowledged that the current surge could be the biggest yet, but have not announced any major restrictions. The government has postponed indefinitely restrictions for unvaccinated people, citing popular resistance among vaccine-hesitant Russians. Additionally, the required isolation period for people infected with Covid-19 has been cut from 14 to seven days, although it remains unclear when this change will take effect.

Despite the alarming rise in cases, authorities noted that the country’s soaring infections have not led to a similar rise in hospital stays. However, it is crucial for the government to continue to monitor the situation closely and take swift action if necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus.

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