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Russia reports nearly 24,000 new COVID cases, Moscow may have passed peak

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Customers sit at tables in Parka Bar in Moscow, Russia November 12, 2020. The city authorities recently ordered bars, restaurants and nightclubs to close at 11 pm amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

MOSCOW, July 24 (Reuters) - Russia on Saturday reported nearly 24,000 new COVID-19 cases and a repeat all-time high in the number of daily deaths, at 799, but some officials suggested that infections, especially in Moscow, may have peaked.

Russia has been in the grip of a surge in cases that authorities blame on the more contagious Delta variant.

The coronavirus task force confirmed 23,947 new COVID-19 infections across the country in the last 24 hours, down around 5% on the previous week. In Moscow, 3,376 new cases were reported, down 26%.

Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said authorities hoped that infections in the Russian capital had now peaked, the TASS news agency reported.

"On the whole, we can see that there is a decrease in the incidence of disease," he was quoted on Friday as saying. "This, of course, is positive, it means that we have passed these peaks, and I hope that there will be further improvement."

The total number of cases recorded since the pandemic began in early 2020 in Russia stood at 6,102,469 on Saturday, out of a total population of around 144 million.

The national death toll linked to COVID-19 rose to 153,095, with the 799 fatalities recorded on Saturday the highest since July 16, which marked an all-time high.

The federal statistics agency has kept a separate count and said Russia recorded around 290,000 deaths related to COVID-19 from April 2020 to May 2021.

Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Alison Williams and Gareth Jones

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