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Russia Reports Record Number Of Virus Fatalities For Second Day In A Row

Health-care workers check on patients at an intensive-care unit in a Moscow hospital treating people suffering from COVID-19.

Russia saw a record daily rise in COVID-19 deaths for the second day in a row on October 13, amid a spike in infections and fatalities that has prompted the Kremlin to urge health authorities to speed up the pace of vaccinations.

Russia's COVID-19 task force reported 984 coronavirus-related deaths, the highest single-day toll since the start of the pandemic, as well as 28,717 new infections in the last 24 hours.

Russia has repeatedly hit record daily death tolls this month, with the previous high on October 12, when authorities reported 973 deaths. A total of 219,329 patients have died of the infection, the anti-coronavirus crisis center said on October 13.

Many Russian doctors and some senior authorities say the official figures are likely to be a fraction of the real total.

Despite the surge in infections and deaths, the Kremlin has ruled out a nationwide lockdown, delegating the power to make decisions on toughening coronavirus restrictions to regional authorities.

Russian health authorities also blame a low vaccination rate of just one in three Russians in a country of some 146 million people.

Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized on October 12 the importance of broad vaccination and urged lawmakers to help encourage the population to get the shots.

"We must patiently and persistently work with people and explain all the advantages of prophylactics against this dangerous disease," Putin told a meeting with newly-elected Russian lawmakers.

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