Russia on Wednesday saw a new record in the number of COVID-19 deaths, the second day in a row and the highest since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to the country’s emergency task force, 346 people died of the disease over the last 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 26,935.

Over the same period, 16,202 people tested positive for COVID-19, taking the active cases to 365,740 and the total number of infections in Russia to over 1.56 million.

Meanwhile, 12,361 were discharged from hospitals and outpatient cares, raising recoveries to 1.17 million.

Starting Wednesday, wearing masks is obligatory in public transports, parking lots, elevators and public places, where 50 or more people present.

Some regions had emergency situations connected to the lack of beds for coronavirus patients, with most illustrative case in the Omsk Region, where ambulances brought patients to the local government’s office after failing to find a hospital with spare beds for them.

Commenting on the situation, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said breakdowns are possible with such a rapid spread of the disease, but it is necessary to analyze the situation, make conclusion and to minimize if not avoid them.

Anna Popova, the chief sanitary officer, said if the situation continues to worsen, authorities could introduce stricter measures.

Since it emerged last December in China, over 44 million people have contracted the novel coronavirus globally, while more than 1.16 million have died, and recoveries exceeded 29.84 million, according to the US Johns Hopkins University’s running tally.

The US, India, and Brazil are currently the worst-hit countries. Russia is a distant fourth, with some 4 million fewer cases than Brazil.

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