COVID- 19: Russia Surpasses Germany, Records 10,559 New Cases in 24 hours

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Russian medical experts prepare to check passengers arriving from Italy at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, Russia, Sunday, March 8, 2020. The Russian authorities have ordered mandatory medical checks upon arrival for all those who arrive from countries with high a level of coronavirus cases and ordered them to stay home for two weeks. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russia recorded more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases for the fourth day in a row on Wednesday, surpassing Germany to become the country with the sixth-highest number of confirmed infections.

Russia has emerged as a new hotspot for the virus and in recent days has been recording the highest number of new infections in Europe.

Health officials on Wednesday reported 10,559 new cases over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 165,929, with 1,537 deaths.

The increase took Russia to fifth place in Europe, behind Spain, Italy, Britain and France.

The number of infections in Russia has been rising by more than 10,000 a day since Sunday, in contrast to countries in western Europe who are taking steps to ease lockdown measures after their rates of new cases and deaths dropped.

Despite the sharp rise, Russia’s fatality rate has remained low in comparison to countries with similar levels of infections.

Officials credit quick moves to close the country’s borders, as well as widespread testing and tracking of infections, but critics have cast doubt on the numbers and accused authorities of under-reporting deaths.

A non-working quarantine period is in place in Russia until May 11 and authorities have said it will be lifted or extended depending on the extent of outbreaks in different regions.

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President Vladimir Putin was set to chair a government meeting to discuss a gradual withdrawal from lockdown later on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, who has tested positive for the virus and is undergoing treatment, was not expected to take part.

The government has announced a number of measures to buttress the economy and businesses but has been accused of not doing enough to support ordinary Russians in the face of what is likely to be a long and difficult economic downturn.

(AFP)

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