Russian health officials Thursday reported a record number of COVID-19 deaths – 986 – for the third consecutive day, while also reporting a record 31,299 new confirmed infections.
The number of new cases breaks a record set last December, and marks the first time Russia has officially reported more than 30,000 cases in a single day. The nation has repeatedly set records for deaths while new infections have surged for much of the past month.
Russian officials have blamed the rise in infections on the nation’s sluggish vaccination program.
The Health Ministry reports this week that barely one-third of Russia’s population of 146 million has been fully inoculated, despite the fact the nation was quick to roll out its Sputnik vaccine early this year.
According to the Reuters news agency, President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday urged newly elected lawmakers to actively support efforts to vaccinate more of the population. The government, however, has been reluctant to impose vaccine mandates.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Monday it was up to regional authorities to establish such rules.