Sunday, May 22, 2022

Russia prepares new measures as Omicron cases near 700

The Kremlin has frequently expressed frustration at the slow uptake of the domestically made Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19, and called on officials to increase inoculation rates.

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Russia has so far recorded 698 cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant and will prepare new measures by the end of the week to combat its spread, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said on Wednesday.

Omicron has pushed Covid-19 case figures to record highs in parts of western Europe and the US but the variant has been slower to hit Russia, where daily Covid cases have fallen from a peak of 41,335 registered in early November.

Data compiled by the Reuters Covid-19 tracker show Russia’s reported pandemic death toll stands at more than 666,000, the second highest in the world behind the United States.

Speaking to President Vladimir Putin at a televised government meeting, Golikova said Russia could see Covid-19 cases increase “several-fold” in light of the new variant.

“We are preparing additional measures for an urgent response,” she said. “The proposal will be formulated by the end of the week.”

On Tuesday Anna Popova, the country’s top consumer health official, warned that daily Covid-19 infections could hit six figures if proper sanitary measures were not observed.

On Wednesday Russia reported 17,946 new cases and 745 deaths in the previous 24 hours.

The Kremlin has frequently expressed frustration at the slow uptake of the domestically made Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19, and called on officials to increase inoculation rates.

Golikova said on Wednesday that Russia’s collective immunity against Covid-19 stood at 63.2%, only slightly higher than the 61.8% recorded as of Dec 30.

Authorities in the capital Moscow have already announced they will mobilise more hospital beds in anticipation of a sharp rise in cases.

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