Russian authorities continue to struggle to contain the coronavirus pandemic in the region as records show the region has three times the number of cases compared to last year, a situation that many blame on the country's low vaccination rate.
Officials reported on Tuesday that there were 895 deaths and 25,110 new coronavirus infections, which brought the total confirmed cases to over 7.6 million. Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said on the same day that there was a 31% increase in COVID-19 cases since the beginning of September.
Russia's Coronavirus Situation
Golikova noted that the recent numbers were 3.1 times more compared to the same period last year. The situation has caused concerns to build among authorities with Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin expressing "serious concern" of the circumstances.
The head of health watchdog agency Rospotrednadzor, Anna Popova, said that Russia's current situation with the coronavirus pandemic was "extremely tense." The official's statements came as more than 200,000 residents were in hospitals after being infected by the deadly virus. Records also showed that nearly a million others were placed under medical watch for potentially being infected, CBS News reported.
The numbers on Tuesday were the third time that Russia observed a daily record of infections higher than 25,000. Many authorities claim that the slow administration of the coronavirus vaccines was to blame for the rising number of infections. This is despite the wide availability of the injections.
While the Kremlin acknowledged that the situation is a cause for concern, authorities have not considered a countrywide lockdown or other nationwide measures to curb the spread of the infection. Golikova revealed that she had talked with other officials about potential measures they can take to prevent another lockdown.
However, the official did not reveal details of the potential protocols and only implied that they would include a "stage-by-stage approach depending on the epidemiological situation in the specific region", ABC News reported.
Low Vaccination Rate
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that as the coronavirus becomes more virulent, residents who have not yet been vaccinated are more at risk of becoming severely ill and dying. The official's statements come as Russia has fully vaccinated 42.2 million residents and still has 35.9 million more people to go to reach collective immunity, said Golikova.
During a televised government meeting, the official said that 7.6 million people needed to receive a booster shot for the coronavirus infection. The country, which has a population of more than 142 million, has approved four domestically manufactured vaccines to use in inoculating its residents.
Another reason for the high number of coronavirus infections and deaths is the high vaccine hesitancy among residents. The situation has severely slowed down vaccination efforts in Russia as residents continue to fear new medical products and have little trust in authorities, Yahoo News reported.
The country's media have also reported seeing long queues of ambulances outside hospitals located in St. Petersburg, the second-largest city in the region. The situation caused an ambulance crew in the city of Vladimir to scramble to find a bed for a COVID-19 patient.