Russia on Thursday reported its highest daily death toll from COVID-19 with 439 more fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.

The previous daily record for new coronavirus-linked fatalities was 432 yesterday.

The total number of cases in the country has now passed 1.85 million, with 21,608 new additions, while related deaths have reached 32,032, according to government figures.

Russia’s overall case tally is the fifth highest in the world, behind the US, India, Brazil, and France.

Despite a surge in numbers, it has resisted plans to reintroduce national lockdown restrictions, which were implemented in spring, and is instead pinning hopes on its Sputnik V vaccine.

Early results from trials suggest it is more than 90% effective. Vaccine developers Pfizer Inc and BioNTech also made similar claims about their antigen earlier this week.

Owing to the “critical growth” in cases; however, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Tuesday said the existing measures to counter coronavirus are “becoming insufficient.”

Cafes, bars, and restaurants in the capital are now prohibited to serve customers between 11. pm. and 6 a.m. until Jan. 15, 2021.

Heightened checks and restrictions have also been introduced for sports and entertainment venues, while all learning has been shifted online.

“The new restrictions are extremely unpleasant, but a necessary measure,” he said.

Masks are already mandatory in all public places including public transport, taxis, parking lots, and elevators nationwide.

*Writing and contribution by Iclal Turan and Waleed Tariq

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