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25 Nov, 2020 13:31

In grim new record, more than 500 Russians die of Covid-19 in single day as authorities race to deploy Sputnik V vaccine

In grim new record, more than 500 Russians die of Covid-19 in single day as authorities race to deploy Sputnik V vaccine

Russia’s daily coronavirus death toll has hit a new high, with health chiefs warning rising caseloads are down to people flouting rules designed to contain the pandemic. The news comes as Moscow prepares to roll out its vaccine.

On Wednesday it was announced that more than 500 people had died from the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities since the start of the pandemic to 37,538. Around 24,000 positive tests were recorded, representing a slight dip from the previous day’s all-time high of more than 25,000.

Georgy Vikulov, an immunologist and director of Russia’s Scientific Information Center, told listeners to Sputnik Radio on Wednesday that a small number of people were undermining efforts to control the virus by ignoring public health messages. "We should have more substantial fines,” the medic argued. He added that, “we need to explain in an accessible way why all these preventive measures need to be followed. People need to be warned, and after that they need to be fined.”

Also on rt.com Over ONE BILLION doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19 expected to be ready in 2021 as producer promises low prices

The news comes amid efforts to make Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine available to the general public. On Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova told journalists that a program of mass immunization would commence early next year, while “vaccination of at-risk groups – medical staff and teachers” has already begun. 

The creators of the jab also announced on Tuesday that their formula was proving to be more effective than previously thought, with around 95 percent of clinical trial volunteers developing immunity to the virus. According to them, more than 500 million people will get access to the vaccine by the end of next year, and it will be among the cheapest on the market at only $10 per dose.

Also on rt.com Covid-19 pandemic could bring economic crisis on scale of ‘Great Depression,’ Putin tells G20 – warns of poverty & social disorder

While many are excited about the prospect of leaving 2020 behind, a number of experts have argued that the pandemic, and the disruption it has brought, will drag on for many more months. An economic adviser to President Vladimir Putin, Maxim Oreshkin, told journalists that infections are unlikely to ease up until the end of 2021. Meanwhile, the head of Russia’s Sberbank, Herman Gref, has predicted that a full economic recovery will not take place until at least 2022.

Speaking at a virtual G20 summit last week, Putin told other world leaders that the pandemic could usher in economic chaos on the scale of “the Great Depression,” and expressed concern about the impact it was having on poorer countries.

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