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COVID-19: Russian Cases Pass Half-Million Mark, Death Toll Exceeds 6,500


A medical-student volunteer takes care of a patient at an intensive-care unit at a Moscow hospital.

The global death toll from the coronavirus is more than 416,000 with more than 7.3 million infections confirmed, causing mass disruptions as governments continue to try to slow the spread of the respiratory illness.

Here's a roundup of COVID-19 developments in RFE/RL's broadcast regions.


Russia has surged past the half-million mark in coronavirus cases amid warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO) that the pandemic is still evolving.

Russia, the country with the world's third-largest coronavirus outbreak, passed 500,000 confirmed cases on June 11, shortly after Moscow lifted tight lockdown restrictions.

The latest figures took the country's total to 502,436, after 8,779 new cases were recorded in the last day, health officials said.

The most cases were reported in the two largest cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg and their surrounding areas.

Despite the stubbornly high figures, many regions are lifting lockdown restrictions as Russia prepares to hold a July 1 national vote on constitutional amendments that would allow President Vladimir Putin a path to stay in power until 2036.

Russia has confirmed a total of 6,532 COVID-19 deaths, a far lower mortality rate than in other countries with large outbreaks -- a discrepancy that the Kremlin was forced to defend after the World Health Organization this week called the toll "difficult to understand."

Russia attributes its lower virus death figures to mass testing, which has identified many cases with mild or no coronavirus symptoms.

Asked if the Kremlin thought the data was strange, spokesman Dmitry Peskov on June 11 said "no," but added that Russia's consumer health regulator would be ready to explain the data to the WHO.


In Ukraine, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov voiced concern on June 11 about a spike in new cases following an easing of restrictions and added that he did not rule out "urgent decisions" as 689 new cases were reported on June 11, a fourth day in a row with more than 450 infections.

Ukraine has reported more than 29,000 infections and 854 deaths so far.

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