Russia's COVID deaths hit new daily peak, some hospitals run low on oxygen

A medical specialist administers a nasal swab to a woman at a COVID-19 rapid testing centre located at a metro station amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Moscow, Russia November 9, 2021. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva

MOSCOW, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Russia on Wednesday reported a record 1,239 deaths from COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours, two days after most of its regions emerged from a week-long workplace shutdown designed to curb the spread of the virus.

"For now we cannot say with confidence that the situation has stabilised and the infection rate is declining," Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova told a government meeting.

Her assessment was markedly more downbeat than that of Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, who had said on Tuesday that the nationwide "non-working days" from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 had turned the tide in Russia's fight against the pandemic.

Murashko told parliament on Wednesday that oxygen reserves at hospitals in 12 of Russia's regions would last for two days or less, unless they were replenished.

At the same time, he said, some regions were already reporting a decline in infections and the vaccination campaign was bearing fruit as only 3-4% of inoculated Russians have been infected.

More than 62 million Russians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Murashko said.

Golikova told a government meeting that 22 million more people needed to get inoculated and about 9 million needed to get a booster in order to have 80% of the adult population vaccinated and thus achieve a minimum level of collective immunity.

The government coronavirus task force reported 38,058 new COVID-19 cases across the country, including 3,927 in Moscow, in the past 24 hours. New daily cases have retreated slightly in the past four days after hitting a peak of 41,335 on Saturday.

Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Anton Zverev; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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