Thursday 12/3/20

Russia sees new record in coronavirus cases

Russia is the first country to approve a vaccine against the virus for use by the general public, with widespread inoculations expected to begin in December or January.

File photo of a Russian woman wearing a mask. Photo: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters.
File photo of a Russian woman wearing a mask. Photo: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters.

Russia announced a new daily record of coronavirus cases on Monday, while the government seemed reluctant to impose another lockdown that could devastate the country's already struggling economy.

Russia reported 17,347 new coronavirus cases, according to the federal monitoring service, following several daily records in recent weeks.

With a total of more than 1.5 million cases, Russia has the world's fourth-largest reported caseload.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that the country needed to avoid imposing harsh restrictions that could harm the economy.

Russia's healthcare system relies on "serious support" from state budgets, and "for these budgets to be replenished we need a working economy," Putin said in a meeting dedicated to the country's economy, according to an official transcript.

"Overall, there is no need in the current situation, at least in Russia, to reintroduce such restrictions as we had in spring, when we sent our people on paid leave and closed down whole enterprises," Putin said.

Masks and gloves

Russians have been advised to wear a mask and gloves in public areas, work from home if possible, and avoid leaving home if they are in a high-risk group, such as the elderly.

Russia is the first country to approve a vaccine against the virus for use by the general public, with widespread inoculations expected to begin in December or January.

The vaccine, Sputnik V, has sparked controversy among the international scientific community, as experts said it had not undergone adequate clinical trials.

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