Active coronavirus cases in Russia fell below 212,000 on Saturday, while the total number of infections since the start of the country’s outbreak passed 720,000.

The number of active cases now stands at 211,896, marking a decline of over 3,000 from 215,142 a day before.

Over the past 24 hours, 6,611 new infections were confirmed in the country, raising the overall count to 720,547, the emergency task force said in its daily report.

The death toll reached 11,205 with 188 more fatalities over the same period, while 8,378 more recoveries brought the total to 497,446.

The daily incidence rate was at 0.9% for the fifth consecutive day, while the death rate is hovering at 1.5% for the past several weeks, with officials expecting it to decrease once the nationwide data for June is collated.

At a news briefing on Friday, Deputy Prime Minster Tatyana Golikova said Russia “is the absolute leader” in the world in terms of testing, carrying out more than 300,000 tests every day.

She said the improving numbers in the country are partly because of the high testing levels.

Golikova said Russia is preparing for the fall and winter season when weather conditions lead to a spike in cases of flu and the common cold, increasing the risk of a second COVID-19 wave.

She stressed that the government “is working hard” to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, but also wants citizens to inoculate for seasonal infections.

International flights ‘may resume’ soon

International flights could resume in Russia from July 15, according to the deputy prime minister.

She said the government will choose countries to restore air links with based on reciprocity, particularly their readiness to allow people to travel to Russia.

All countries, she added, must meet three criteria: the incidence rate over the past 14 days must be at or lower than 40 infections per 100,000 people, the daily growth in cases must be below 1%, and the reproduction number, or R value, must not exceed 1.0.

There are also conditions for entering Russia, with all foreigners required to show negative COVID-19 test results no more than three days old.

Returning Russian nationals can either present test results proving they are COVID-19 negative or undergo a test within three days of arrival.

In addition, authorities will also conduct selective testing at border entry points.

People arriving without medical certificates from countries with epidemiologically unfavorable conditions may be placed in 14-day quarantine.

Since originating in China last December, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed nearly 561,000 lives in 188 countries and regions.

More than 12.52 million cases have been reported worldwide, while over 6.9 million patients have recovered so far, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

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