Kremlin worried about death toll but rules out new measures

Russia, the hardest-hit country in Europe, is facing an acceleration of the epidemic, with nearly 1,000 dead and 30,000 new contaminations recorded in twenty-four hours, Monday. In addition to poor compliance with barrier gestures, the spread of the virus is facilitated by the low vaccination rate – just over 30% of Russians are fully vaccinated, according to the specialized site Gogov – against a background of public mistrust.

“Our vaccination rate is low, it is unacceptably low,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday, noting that it resulted in “a high death rate”. For him, the authorities are not responsible for this situation: “All the conditions have been put in place so that our citizens can protect their lives by being vaccinated. “

Around 417,000 deaths linked to Covid-19

The government count of the Covid-19 epidemic officially reaches 217,372 dead, making Russia the fourth most bereaved country in the world. But the real toll is much heavier. The Rosstat Institute of Statistics, which has a broader definition of coronavirus-related deaths, reported on Friday more than 417,000 deaths of patients diagnosed with Covid-19 at the end of August.

However, the government has ruled out introducing restrictive health measures that could harm the economy. “Our main mission is to find the right balance between breaking the chains of contamination (…) and maintaining the conditions to allow the economy to function and people to continue to earn money”, underlined Dmitri Peskov.

The Russians have been facing a drop in their standard of living since 2014, weighing down the popularity of the authorities. It is perhaps also for this reason that the Kremlin, usually very centralizing, has delegated to the regions the management of the epidemic and the implementation of health constraints.

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