The Russian government’s task force for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic announced on Tuesday (12/10) a record 973 coronavirus-related deaths in a single day, accompanied by a continuing spike in new infections.
On the same day, the task force also reported a total of 28,190 new cases, close to the record 29,499 cases set in last December.
Russian officials blame the spike in infections on the country’s sluggish vaccination program. The Health Ministry reports that only a third of the population has been fully vaccinated, although the country quickly launched its Sputnik vaccine earlier this year.
According to Reuters news agency, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday urged newly elected lawmakers to actively support efforts to vaccinate more of the population.
But the government is reluctant to enforce a vaccine mandate. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that the implementation of the vaccine mandate itself would be left to regional authorities.
Meanwhile, a UK parliamentary report said dissent among government officials led to costly delays in ordering lockdown nation in the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 151-page report from the House science and health committee said Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet deliberately engaged in a “slow and gradual approach” in the first few months of 2020 as officials sought to manage, rather than suppress the spread of the virus.
The joint investigation said the coronavirus could spread across the UK due to the “fatal” strategy, which was eventually abandoned as the country’s National Health Service risked being overwhelmed by rapidly increasing cases.
The report also criticized the Johnson administration for its “slow, uncertain and often chaotic testing and tracking system,” and noted the failure of national and local governments and other public bodies to share data between them.
Lawmakers concluded that the government’s response to the pandemic was “one of the most serious health failures” in British history. (lt/ka)