COVID deaths in Russia in September well above government estimates – Manila Bulletin

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MOSCOW, Russia – Russian federal statistics Rosstat said on Friday that 44,265 people died from the coronavirus in the country in September – nearly double the official government figure.

AFP / MANILA BULLETIN

This would bring the number of Covid-19 deaths in Russia to nearly 450,000, the highest death toll in Europe.

Russian authorities have been accused of downplaying the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country and Rosstat’s figure – released Friday evening – painted a much darker picture than official figures suggest.

The number has still not reached the monthly record of more than 50,000 Covid deaths in Russia in July, according to Rosstat.

An official government count showed that Russia recorded 24,031 deaths in September.

Government figures only take into account deaths where the virus has been established as the leading cause of death after an autopsy.

Rosstat, however, publishes figures under a broader definition of virus-related deaths.

Russia is the hardest-hit country in Europe by the pandemic, with authorities struggling to counter widespread anti-vaccine sentiment.

Despite calls from President Vladimir Putin and the great availability of the local Sputnik V jab, only 32% of Russians are fully vaccinated.

Moscow shut down non-essential services for 11 days on Thursday as the country battles a record wave of the virus, driven by low vaccination rates.

Russia recorded 1,163 deaths from Covid on Friday.

Putin has ordered a week of nationwide paid leave from Saturday in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

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