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COVID: Russia records new daily deaths records in Moscow and St Petersburg

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By Euronews with AFP
Medical workers carry a patient suspected of having coronavirus on a stretcher at a hospital in Kommunarka, outside Moscow
Medical workers carry a patient suspected of having coronavirus on a stretcher at a hospital in Kommunarka, outside Moscow   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
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Russia has recorded new daily deaths records for coronavirus in Moscow and St Petersburg, surpassing previous records set over the weekend.

The figures come as restaurants and cafes in Moscow began requesting customers provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

According to official data, the Russian capital has recorded 124 deaths and St Petersburg 110 in the last 24 hours, surpassing the records that Russia's two largest cities had already broken over the weekend.

This is despite the gradual introduction of health measures, such as the return of compulsory teleworking for some employees and compulsory vaccination for service sector workers.

According to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, nearly 2,000 people are hospitalised every day because of Covid-19 in this city of more than 12 million inhabitants and about 75% of the available beds are occupied.

However, a general lockdown, as in spring 2020, is not envisaged for the time being in order to preserve the economy.

St Petersburg is set to host the Euro 2020 quarter-final clash between Spain and France or Switzerland, which will take place on Friday.

Nearly 300 fans returning to Finland after attending a match in that city have tested positive for COVID-19, according to local health authorities.

They were there last Monday for their country's match with Belgium.

According to a decision by city authorities last week, all Moscow restaurants, cafes and bars must only admit customers who have been vaccinated, have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months or can provide a negative coronavirus test from the previous 72 hours.

As proof of vaccination for entering a restaurant, customers must visit a government website and get a QR code, a digital pattern designed to be read by a scanner.

In one concession to desperate restaurant owners, the city officials agreed that the QR codes aren’t needed for the next two weeks at establishments with outdoor terraces. Underage customers won’t have to provide documentation if accompanied by their parents.

Russia's vaccination campaign has lagged since December amid widespread public distrust and despite repeated calls from President Vladimir Putin.

With 133,893 deaths reported by the government, Russia is the European country with the most deaths and one of the hardest hit in the world.

The statistics agency Rosstat, which has a broader definition of COVID-19-related deaths, counted some 270,000 deaths by the end of April.