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Russia now has the second highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world

The country has 232,243 cases, surpassing the UK and Spain.

 People wearing face masks and gloves on an escalator today in Moscow, Russia.
People wearing face masks and gloves on an escalator today in Moscow, Russia.
Image: Alexander Zemlianichenko

RUSSIA HAS THE world’s second-highest number of coronavirus infections after reporting another 10,899 new cases today, according to an AFP tally. 

The new cases brought Russia’s total to 232,243, surpassing the number of infections in the UK and Spain.

It is now only behind the United States which has reported more than 1.3 million cases, according to the tally compiled from official sources.

Russia has been reporting more than 10,000 new cases per day for over a week. 

Officials say the high number of cases reflects a huge testing campaign, with some 5.8 million tests carried out so far.

More than half of the cases have been reported in Moscow and the surrounding region.

With only 2,116 virus deaths reported to date, Russia’s mortality rate has been much lower in comparison with other countries with similar infection rates. 

Authorities say this is because Russia was able to learn lessons from the experiences of western Europe, moving quickly to isolate travellers and people at risk, convert hospitals to treating virus patients and to test and quarantine those infected. 

But critics have cast doubt on the numbers, accusing officials of under-counting by blaming virus-related deaths on other causes.

Today, Russia moved to ease its nationwide lockdown despite its surge in infections each day. 

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With pressure building to get the economy moving again, President Vladimir Putin yesterday announced an end to a national “non-working” period in place since late March.

Containment measures remained in many parts of the vast country, including hard-hit Moscow which is on lockdown until the end of May, but others began to lift some restrictions. 

In Bashkortostan in the Urals, officials reopened parks and river banks and in Magadan in the Far East, residents were allowed to leave their homes to exercise. 

In Moscow, around half a million construction and industrial workers were allowed back on the job, as wearing masks and gloves became mandatory in shops and on public transport. 

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