Despite the surging infections, authorities have avoided imposing any major restrictions to stem the surge, saying the health system has been coping with the influx of patients.
Earlier this month, parliament indefinitely postponed introducing restrictions on the unvaccinated that would have proven unpopular among vaccine-hesitant Russians. And this week health officials cut the required isolation period for those who came in contact with COVID-19 patients from 14 days to seven without offering any explanation for the move.
Russia has had only one national lockdown, in 2020, although many Russians were ordered to stay off work for a week last October amid a jump in reported cases and deaths.
Russia’s state statistics agency, which uses broader counting criteria than the task force, puts the country’s pandemic death toll much higher, saying the number of virus-linked deaths between April 2020 and October 2021 was over 625,000.
Just about half of Russia’s 146 million people have been fully vaccinated, even though Russia boasted about being the first country in the world to approve and roll out a domestically developed coronavirus vaccine.