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COVID-19: Russia sees record daily death toll for 2 days in a row

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By Euronews with AFP, AP
Medical workers carry a patient suspected of having coronavirus on a stretcher at a hospital in Kommunarka, outside Moscow, Russia, June 26, 2021.
Medical workers carry a patient suspected of having coronavirus on a stretcher at a hospital in Kommunarka, outside Moscow, Russia, June 26, 2021.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
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The number of COVID-19 deaths hit record levels for the second day in a row in Russia.

Health authorities reported on Wednesday that 669 people had lost their lives to the virus over the previous 24 hours, breaking the previous record of 652 deaths established the day before.

Russia’s state coronavirus task force has been registering over 20,000 new coronavirus cases and around 600 deaths every day since last Thursday. On Wednesday, 21,042 new contagions were recorded.

St Petersburg, the country's second city, which will host the EURO 2020 quarterfinal between Switzerland and Spain on Friday, deplored the death of 119 people on Tuesday, its highest daily tally since the global health crisis started.

Russia, Europe's worst-affected country with 135,214 deaths, has in recent weeks been hit by a surge of Delta variant cases.

The spread of the variant "of concern" and the soaring infections numbers have prompted the authorities to reintroduce measures to curb the spread of the virus.

In Moscow, the EURO 2020 fan zone was closed and local authorities also ordered that all food courts in shopping centres be closed.

Russian officials have blamed the surge, which started in early June, on Russians’ lax attitude toward taking necessary precautions, growing prevalence of more infectious variants and laggard vaccination rates.

Several regions, including Moscow, have also introduced mandatory vaccination for some sectors to boost the low vaccine uptake.

According to Our World in Data, only 15% of the country's 146 million inhabitants have received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared to 49.8% in the EU, 53.6% in the US and 65.5% in the UK.