Russia on Friday reported less than 7,000 new coronavirus for the eight consecutive day.

A total of 6,718 cases were reported over the past 24 hours, raising the tally to 667,883, with active cases making up about a third of the total, the country’s emergency task force said in a daily report.

The virus claimed 176 lives over the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 9,859 while recoveries went up by 8,915 to reach 437,893, it added.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said the country will continue increasing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests despite declining case numbers, to “identify new cases quickly, helping the patients, and preventing them from infecting those around them.”

Russia has also started conducting another type of test – enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) – to detect how many people have been exposed to the virus and developed antibodies.

Five new medical centers, built by the Defense Ministry and specifically equipped for COVID-19 patients, were also opened in as many cities this week.

Though Russia remains third in the world in terms of number of cases, it has seen more recoveries than infections over the past two weeks, with the incidence rate dropping 10%.

In June, most lockdown measures were eased throughout the country, including the capital Moscow.

Trials for several vaccines have started and authorities have approved two medications for COVID-19 patients so far.

Since originating in China last December, the pandemic has claimed over 521,800 lives in 188 countries and regions.

More than 10.89 million cases have been reported worldwide, while over 5.77 million patients have recovered so far, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

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