Moscow COVID cases hit daily records on Friday and Saturday

FILE: People wearing face masks walk through the subway, with a portrait of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin in the background, in Moscow, Russia, June 10, 2021.
FILE: People wearing face masks walk through the subway, with a portrait of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin in the background, in Moscow, Russia, June 10, 2021. Copyright Pavel Golovkin/AP
By Euronews with AP, AFP
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Authorities blame the more contagious delta variant as new coronavirus infections have tripled in just two weeks.

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Newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Moscow hit daily records for two consecutive days on Friday and Saturday, official figures showed.

Authorities reported 9,120 new cases in the Russian capital on Saturday and 9,056 on Friday: the city's highest daily rates since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Two weeks ago only around 3,000 cases were being recorded in the city each day. 

Across Russia,  17,262 new infections were registered on Friday and 17,906 on Saturday, respectively the highest daily tallies since February 2021.

Russian deputy prime minister Tatyana Golikova said the Moscow region was seeing a "serious spike of infections".

Speaking at a news conference Friday, Golikova blamed the surge in new cases on people's "non-respect of restrictions" and the spread of the more infectious Delta variant first identified in India.

In response to soaring case numbers, Moscow authorities have imposed an 11 pm curfew on bars and restaurants while closing Euro 2020 fan zones.

They also made COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for individuals working in retail, education, health care, public transportation and other trades that provide services to a large number of people.

On Friday, the bar and restaurant curfew was extended until the end of the month and authorities temporarily banned entertainment events with more than 1,000 spectators.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin also announced a dozen restaurants in Moscow will also become "coronavirus-free", only allowing in vaccinated customers.

Only about 13 per cent of the Russian population has received a first dose of vaccine, according to the  website Gogov, which aggregates data gleaned from regional and media reports in the absence of official Russia-wide statistics.

With almost 129,000 lives lost to the pandemic, based on the government's figures Russia has recently become the European country to record the most COVID-19 deaths, overtaking Britain.

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