Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Saturday
Russia tops 1,000 new deaths for the 1st time amid record COVID-19 surge
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Russia's daily death toll from COVID-19 has exceeded 1,000 for the first time as the country faces a sustained wave of rising infections.
The national coronavirus task force on Saturday reported 1,002 deaths in the previous day, up from 999 on Friday, along with 33,208 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, more than 1,000 higher than the day before.
Russian authorities have tried to speed up the pace of vaccinations with lotteries, bonuses and other incentives, but widespread vaccine skepticism and conflicting signals from officials stymied the efforts. The government said this week that about 43 million Russians, or about 29 per cent of the country's nearly 146 million people, are fully vaccinated.
Despite the mounting toll, the Kremlin has ruled out a new nationwide lockdown like the one early on in the pandemic that badly hurt the economy, eroding President Vladimir Putin's popularity. Instead, it has delegated the power to enforce coronavirus restrictions to regional authorities.
Some of Russia's 85 regions have restricted attendance at large public events and limited access to theatres, restaurants and other venues. However, daily life is going on largely as normal in Moscow, St. Petersburg and many other Russian cities.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko acknowledged this week that medical facilities have come under growing strains and said authorities have offered retired medics who have gotten vaccinated the option of returning to work.
Overall, the coronavirus task force has registered more than 7,958,000 confirmed cases and 222,315 deaths — Europe's highest death toll. The official record ranks Russia as having the fifth-most pandemic deaths in the world, following the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.
However, state statistics agency Rosstat, which also counts deaths in which the virus wasn't considered the main cause, has reported a much higher pandemic death toll — about 418,000 people with COVID-19 as of August. Based on that number, Russia would rank as the fourth hardest-hit nation in the world, ahead of Mexico.
What's happening in Canada
- Burned-out health-care workers hope new restrictions curb spread in B.C.'s north.
- Mobile clinics still a vital tool in Alta. immunization push.
- Sask. residents concerned by vaccine doses missing from records.
- Man. care homes brace for staff shortages as vaccine mandate looms.
- Ont. registers 486 new infections and five more fatalities.
- Que. nurses refuse mandatory overtime as pandemic adds to pressure.
- Demand for free rapid test kits forces N.B. sites to close early.
- University enrolment in N.S. rebounds after pandemic dip last year.
- Public servants must be vaccinated by Dec. 17, says N.L. government.
- Yukon reports 10 new cases, issues public exposure notice for Canada Games Centre.
What's happening around the world
As of Saturday, more than 240.2 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.8 million.
In the Asia-Pacific region, health-care workers in New Zealand administered more than 120,000 vaccine jabs — a record number for the country — as a festival was held aimed at getting more people inoculated against COVID-19.
In Europe, EU countries have sent COVID-19 drugs and equipment to treat patients in Romania, which is facing a surge in infections largely among the unvaccinated majority of the adult population.
In Africa, South Africa will start vaccinating children between the ages of 12 and 17 next week using the Pfizer vaccine, the health minister said.
In the Americas, at least two dozen lawsuits have been filed around the U.S., many in recent weeks, by people seeking to force hospitals to give their COVID-stricken loved ones ivermectin, a drug for parasites that has been promoted by conservative commentators as a treatment, despite a lack of conclusive evidence that it helps people with the virus.
With files from Reuters and CBC News