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Russia, Ukraine, Romania Post Record Daily COVID-19 Death Tolls As Delta Variant Wreaks Havoc

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A man wears a protective gas mask in St. Petersburg, where new COVID-19 restrictions are set to be implemented. (file photo)

Russia, Ukraine, and Romania have reported their highest daily COVID-19 death tolls during the coronavirus pandemic as the Delta variant wreaks havoc.

The anti-coronavirus crisis center in Moscow said on October 19 that in the previous 24 hours, 1,105 people died from COVID-19, bringing Russia's death toll from the illness to 225,325, the fourth-highest total in the world, trailing only the United States, Brazil, and India. Many experts say the actual toll is likely to be much higher.

Meanwhile, authorities in St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city, say they are set to tighten restrictions as they struggle to contain a surge in coronavirus cases.

Included in the measures announced on October 18 is the introduction of a health pass to regulate access to events with large crowds.

Boris Piotrovski, the city’s deputy governor, said that beginning on November 1, people will need to show a QR code to get into large sports or cultural gatherings with more than 40 people attending.

People who have been fully vaccinated or who have had a negative COVID-19 test in the past 72 hours will be eligible to receive the QR code.

Starting on November 15, the restrictions will also apply to swimming pools, fitness centers, theaters, cinemas, museums, and circuses.

'We'll Keep Treating People No Matter How Tough It Gets': Russian COVID-19 Deaths Hit New High
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Restaurants and most shops will be included beginning on December 1 in the city of some 5 million residents.

Cafes in stations and airports, pharmacies, and shops selling food will be exempted from the restrictions.

The city has reported the nation's second-largest number of new infections after Moscow.

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Since the start of the pandemic, about 667,000 coronavirus infections have been confirmed in St. Petersburg, with at least 22,964 deaths, according to official data.

Authorities blame the fact that just 32 percent of Russians are fully vaccinated as officials seek to overcome widespread mistrust.

National authorities have so far rejected a nationwide lockdown, preferring instead to leave it up to local regions and cities to decide.

Comparatively urbanized western Russia and developed areas along the Pacific Coast such as Vladivostok and Khabarovsk have seen the highest infection rates.

Several other regions in Russia have already imposed various QR code requirements.

In Ukraine, coronavirus data was similarly gloomy, with the Health Ministry in Kyiv reporting 538 COVID-19 fatalities in the past 24 hours, that country's worst daily total during the pandemic, as well. Overall, 61,348 people have died from the illness in Ukraine.

Romania reported a fresh daily record of COVID-19 infections of 18,863 cases in the last 24 hours, and 574 deaths, also a record high number, the government said.

More than 1,800 people are being treated in intensive care units across the country, it said.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and TASS, RFE/RL's Romanian Service
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