MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s nationwide tally of confirmed coronavirus cases neared the 100,000 mark on Wednesday after 5,841 new cases of the virus were registered overnight along with a record daily rise in the death toll.
Russia, the world’s largest country by territory, has been on lockdown since President Vladimir Putin announced the closure of most public spaces in late March.
It this week overtook China and Iran in the number of confirmed cases. The figures mean Russia now ranks eighth worldwide for the number of confirmed cases, though it has so far recorded far fewer deaths than many of the most hard-hit countries.
The nationwide case tally now stands at 99,399, the country’s coronavirus crisis response centre said on Wednesday. It said 108 people diagnosed with the novel coronavirus had died in the last 24 hours, a record daily rise. That means the official overall death toll now stands at 972 people.
Authorities began recording a sharp rise in cases this month.
Russia is now in its fifth week of a lockdown that, together with the collapse of oil prices, has put the economy on course for a 4-6% contraction, according to the central bank.
Putin, addressing the nation on television on Tuesday, said the lockdown measures would have to be rolled over for another two weeks. He warned the outbreak’s peak was still ahead.
“The situation is still very difficult,” said Putin. “We are facing a new and perhaps the most intense stage in countering the epidemic.”
(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Andrew Osborn)