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A man shows a police officer his digital ID to be allowed out during a coronavirus lockdown in central Moscow on May 6, 2020.
A man shows a police officer his digital ID to be allowed out during a coronavirus lockdown in central Moscow on May 6, 2020.

Russia’s virus infections soar past France and Germany. Lockdown extended

PortandTerminal.com, May 7, 2020

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – Moscow Times is reporting today that Russia has confirmed 11,231 new coronavirus infections on Thursday. That brings the country’s official number of cases to 177,160 and marks a new one-day record rise in infections.

Russia now has the world’s second-fastest rate of new infections behind the United States. It is the fifth most-affected country in terms of infections, surpassing Germany and France on Thursday.

Eighty-eight people died over the past 24 hours, bringing the total toll to 1,625.

The number of infections in Russia has been rising by more than 10,000 a day since Sunday, in contrast to countries in western Europe that are taking steps to ease lockdown measures.

Officials attribute the increase to mass testing and detecting asymptomatic cases not always counted in other countries.

Health officials said on Thursday they had carried out more than 4.8 million tests. 

Russia’s mortality rate is low compared to European countries hit badly by the pandemic, with health officials registering 88 new deaths for a total of 1,625.

Moscow cites a series of measures taken early in the pandemic for its low mortality rate, including closing its borders and ordering the elderly and those at risk to self-isolate. But some say the discrepancy is due to how the death count is calculated.

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According to official figures on Wednesday, Russia’s death rate was just 0.9%, compared with Germany, which is lauded for its virus response, with a fatality rate of 4.2%.

Coronavirus cases have been registered in all of Russia’s 85 regions with Moscow the epicenter of the pandemic where officials have registered 92,676 infections.

Coronavirus restrictions in the Russian capital, Moscow, are to be extended until 31 May, the city’s mayor has said.

Announcing the decision on his personal blog, Sergei Sobyanin said some measures would be relaxed from 12 May, including a return to work for industrial and construction companies.

“We understand that the number of people moving on transport will increase, one way or another, the number of people communicating with each other will increase,” he said on the Rossiya-24 television channel.

Moscow residents are allowed out only for brief trips to a shop, to walk dogs or to travel to essential jobs with a permit.

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered regional governors to develop plans to gradually lift anti-virus lockdowns regimes which vary from region to region.

He urged caution, however, warning: “The price of even the smallest mistake is the safety, lives and health of our people.” 

Since the start of the crisis, Putin’s approval rating has dropped to a historic low, according to independent pollster Levada, which said this week it fell to 59 percent in April from 63 percent in March.

Worldwide, the virus has infected almost 3.8 million people.

Moscow Times contributed to the reporting of this story.

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