Medical staff members carry a stretcher at the Kommunarka Hospital outside Moscow on Friday. AFP
Russia reported record high 1,002 coronavirus deaths over 24 hours on Saturday, the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. It pushed the national death toll to 222,315.
The country's jab drive at a standstill and few restrictions in place as new COVID-19 cases also hit record high at 33,208, the Russian coronavirus task force said, bringing the official total case tally to 7,958,384.
The surging outbreak has come with just 31 per cent of Russians fully inoculated as of Saturday, according to the Gogov website, which tallies Covid-19 data from the regions.
A lack of tough restrictions has allowed the virus to spread unchecked, though a number of regions have re-introduced QR codes for access to public places.
Passengers are seen at a metro station after a lockdown was lifted in Moscow, Russia in June last year. File/Reuters
The Kremlin has avoided re-introducing major restrictions despite calling the country's vaccination rate "unacceptably" low, saying this week authorities have to ensure "the economy continues working".
It also said that Russia's medical system is prepared to take in the rising number of patients, describing it as not "overwhelmed".
Authorities have blamed Russians for the growing outbreak.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko this week pointed to their "behaviour", while Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said everything had been done to give the public the chance to "save their lives by getting vaccinated".
While several Russian-developed jabs have been available for months, authorities have struggled to inoculate a vaccine-sceptic population.
A woman touches the sculpture, a memorial for St. Petersburg's medical workers, in St. Petersburg, Russia. AP
Independent polls show that more than half of Russians do not plan to get a shot.
Russia's fatalities from Covid now stand at 222,315 -- the highest toll in Europe -- even as authorities are accused of downplaying the severity of Russia's outbreak.
Under a broader definition of deaths linked to the virus, the Rosstat statistics agency has said that by the end of August more than 400,000 people in Russia had died with the coronavirus.
The country is grappling with a spike of infections spurred by the highly infectious Delta variant and sluggish vaccination rates. Russia has struggled to cope with a surge in infections and deaths in recent weeks that comes amid rather slow vaccination rates.
Russian authorities have so far shunned imposing a second lockdown or shutting down businesses nationwide, insisting that the health care system is able to cope with the surge.
The Ministry stressed in a statement on Tuesday that its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment.
European Union leaders met to navigate a common path out of the pandemic as infections surge in many of their countries, while President Joe Biden set a new goal of administering 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States in his first 100 days in office.
Hassan's audio speech broadcast on state television — his first address to the nation since the Taliban seized power in August — came ahead of next week's meeting between the United States and the Taliban in Doha.
Emergency medical services workers initially checked him out before being sent to a hospital for evaluation, the agency said. His condition was not released.
On November 23, researchers discovered a new "abnormally multiple mutations. Some of the mutations are already known and affect transmissibility and immune evasion, but many more are new.
An official source from the Saudi Interior Ministry said: “It has been decided to allow direct entry of travellers from all countries, for all those who have received a dose of the from 4/12/2021, provided that institutional quarantine procedures are applied to them for three days.”