After a few weeks of a slowdown in the spread of coronavirus, Russia reported on Thursday new record numbers of cases and fatalities.

Since Wednesday, the country’s emergency task force registered 29,935 new infections, taking the total number of people who have been exposed to the virus to 2.96 million and active cases to 539,735.

Over the same period, 635 people died of COVID-19, raising the death toll to 53,096 while 26,890 recovered, bringing total recoveries to 2.37 million.

The Russian authorities have already started to prepare for the New Year holidays, issuing recommendations aiming to avoid further growth of infections.

Chief sanitary officer Anna Popova recommended giving priority to outdoor activities — although limiting the number of participants to 50 people — as well as doing more cleaning in public transport, shopping malls and other places of mass people concentration.

She also stressed that wearing a face mask and keeping a social distance is mandatory in Russia.

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

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