MOSCOW

Despite additional measures, announced by the authorities, the number of coronavirus cases in Russia continues to grow.

On Friday, the country’s coronavirus emergency task force reported 20,393 new cases, saying 347,385 people are currently under treatment and over 5.4 million were exposed to COVID-19 in total.

Daily fatalities also keep increasing, and 601 people died of the virus over the past day — maximum since Jan. 21 — pushing the death toll to 132,064, the report added.

Over the same period, the recoveries grew by 14,024 to reach 4.9 million, it said.

The worst situation is in the capital Moscow, its closest neighbor Moscow Oblast, and Saint Petersburg — the three regions account for more than half of the new infections.

Last week, officials in several Russian regions, including Moscow and its surrounding Moscow Oblast, ordered mandatory vaccination of service sector employees, introducing penalties for non-compliance.

Although Russians have a wide availability of coronavirus vaccines, the level of vaccination in the country remains low, only 10.66% of the population got a jab against the disease.

The authorities try to push the vaccination campaign through wider social advertisement and educational work.

Additional measures were announced in Moscow this week, including restrictions for visiting eateries, entertainment, and sports venues.

Since December 2019, the pandemic has claimed over 3.9 million lives in 192 countries and regions, with more than 180 million cases reported worldwide, according to the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

The US, India, and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries.

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