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Russia Records Highest Number Of Daily Coronavirus Cases Since Early January

Gravediggers wearing personal protective equipment bury a person who died from COVID-19, in a cemetery on the outskirts of St. Petersburg.

Russia on July 4 announced 25,142 new Covid-19 infections, the highest figure since early January as the country battles the surging Delta variant of the virus.

This week Russia reported record numbers of coronavirus deaths for five days in a row, registering 697 Covid-19 fatalities on July 3.

On July 4, the official tally showed 663 people dying of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 137,925.

Fueling Russia's newest wave of infections is the reluctance of many Russians to actually get vaccinated. Only around 15 percent of the population has gotten the vaccine, with many citing distrust of the science, and authorities more generally, as the reason.

Earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin urged Russians to overcome their hesitance and get vaccinated against COVID-19.

But many observers said he also undermined the message by declining to strongly support vaccine mandates for some Russians, by suggesting without evidence that Western-made vaccines were dangerous, and by underplaying the scale of the vaccination problem more broadly.

Based on reporting by AFP, TASS, and Reuters