Moscow mayor says Delta variant accounts for 90% of new COVID-19 cases

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Medical specialist transports a patient inside a hospital for people infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Moscow, Russia June 16, 2021. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

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MOSCOW, June 23 (Reuters) - Ninety percent of newly-detected COVID-19 cases in Moscow are being registered as the more contagious Delta variant of the virus, the Russian capital's mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Wednesday as the city reported its highest ever death toll.

Sobyanin said Moscow's healthcare system was operating "close to its capacity" after the spike which prompted him to introduce fresh restrictions in the city of 13 million.

Moscow and Saint Petersburg, Russia's second-biggest city, reported their highest daily numbers of COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday at 88 and 93 respectively.

Sobyanin said the Delta variant appeared to have first entered Moscow in April and spread over the course of May, thus provoking the spike in new cases this month.

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Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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