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Russia records huge surge in Covid-19 infections, government says situation ‘under control’

Russia records huge surge in Covid-19 infections, government says situation ‘under control’
Either through good fortune, incomplete testing or early measures taken to shut down borders, Russia's coronavirus numbers are much lower than in other major European states, but Wednesday morning saw an alarming rise.

In the worst day for recorded infections thus far, 163 new confirmed cases were announced by Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova. This brings the overall number of confirmed cases up to 658 and marks a severe ramping-up of the momentum of coronavirus in the world’s biggest country.

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The most significant increase can be seen in the capital. Although the 163 newly confirmed cases are spread out among 20 different regions, 120 (almost three-quarters) are located in Moscow. According to the operational headquarters dealing with the pandemic, the number of infected people in the capital is now at 410.

The Russian government has been at pains to make it clear that the containment of coronavirus within national borders has mostly been successful, with Rospotrebnadzor emphasizing that “the spread of infection on the territory of Russia is connected with importation from countries in Europe.”

On Tuesday, authorities announced that they had confirmed 57 cases of Covid-19. Wednesday's figure of 163, almost triple the previous day’s number, is, therefore, a considerable jump.

According to Golikova, there have been 29 successful recoveries from the virus, and as many as 112,000 people have been undergoing self-isolation.

“The overall situation is under control,” said the deputy prime minister.

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Despite very rapid growth, numbers in Russia remain much lower than those in the European Union. The figure of 658 is almost 50 times smaller than the UK, over 200 times lower than Germany and nearly 425 times fewer than in Italy. Yesterday, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin warned that the number of cases in Russia may be much higher than the official count.

Confirmed cases of Covid-19, which was designated a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, now exceed 434,000. Worldwide, the coronavirus has caused over 19,000 deaths.

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