MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia yesterday reported 669 coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, a record number of fatalities for the second day in a row, according to a government tally.
The country is grappling with a spike of infections spurred by the highly infectious Delta variant and sluggish vaccination rates.
One of the pandemic hotspots is the city of St Petersburg, which is due to host a Euro 2020 quarter-final tomorrow in front of thousands of fans, many of them flying in from abroad for the match.
Officials have been accused of underreporting fatalities, counting only cases when coronavirus was found to be the primary cause of death after autopsy.
By comparison, authorities on Tuesday reported 652 coronavirus fatalities, topping a record that was set in December last year.
Over the past few weeks, St Petersburg and the capital Moscow have seen a spike in infections, with authorities re-introducing virus restrictions and pushing their struggling vaccination drive.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has said that the more contagious Delta variant first identified in India accounts for 90 per cent of cases in the capital.