Daily virus cases in Russia double as omicron spreads

Jan 17, 2022, 5:12 AM | Updated: 10:46 pm

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian authorities on Monday reported a sharp spike in new coronavirus cases, apparently driven by the rapid spread of the omicron variant health officials warned about last week.

The country’s state coronavirus task force registered 30,726 new infections over the last 24 hours, which is twice as many as 15,830 just a week ago and the highest daily tally since early December. The task force has also reported 670 deaths.

The omicron variant spreads much more easily than other coronavirus strains, and has already become dominant in many countries. It also more easily infects those who have been vaccinated or had previously been infected by prior versions of the virus. However, early studies show omicron is less likely to cause severe illness than the previous delta variant.

Infections in Russia steadily climbed all of last week, and officials sounded the alarm about a looming surge of cases driven by omicron’s rapid spread.

Anna Popova, head of Russia’s public health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, has warned that daily new cases might reach six-figure levels, and President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia has “a couple of weeks” to prepare for the unprecedented surge.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Friday that omicron is responsible for nearly half of all new infections in the capital. On Monday, new virus cases in the city surpassed 7,000.

Russia’s state coronavirus task force has registered over 10.8 million confirmed infections and 321,990 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Russia’s state statistics agency, which uses broader counting criteria, puts the death toll much higher, saying the overall number of virus-linked deaths between April 2020 and October 2021 was over 625,000.

Russia had only one nationwide lockdown, in 2020, and in October 2021, many Russians were ordered to stay off work for a week amid a jump in infections and deaths. However, authorities have generally resisted shutting down businesses or imposing any tough restrictions.

No new measures have so far been announced to curb the spread of omicron and slow down the surge. On Friday, the government decided to indefinitely postpone introducing restrictions for the unvaccinated they have been mulling over since November.

These restrictions would have limited access to many public places to only those who have been fully jabbed, recently recovered from the virus or is medically exempt from immunization, and have proven to be extremely unpopular among vaccine-hesitant Russians.

Just about 50% of Russia’s 146-million population have been fully vaccinated so far, even though Russia has boasted about being the first country in the world to approve and roll out a domestically-developed coronavirus vaccine.

___

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Italy's Matteo Berrettini wears a mask at the end of the third set during the men's singles ...
Associated Press

COVID-19 at Wimbledon: 3 top-20 men out after positive tests

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic famously decided not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 — which prevented him from playing at the Australian Open in January following a legal saga that ended with his deportation from that country, and, as things currently stand, will prevent him from entering the United States to […]
10 hours ago
FILE - Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson smiles as Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., arr...
Associated Press

Jackson sworn in, becomes 1st Black woman on Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ketanji Brown Jackson has been sworn in to the Supreme Court, shattering a glass ceiling as the first Black woman on the nation’s highest court. The 51-year-old Jackson is the court’s 116th justice and she took the place Thursday of the justice she once worked for. Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement took effect […]
10 hours ago
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows Kaitlin Marie Armstrong. Police were...
Associated Press

Texas woman accused in cyclist death arrested in Costa Rica

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas woman suspected in the fatal shooting of professional cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson at an Austin home has been arrested in Costa Rica, the U.S. Marshals Service said Thursday. Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, 34, was arrested Wednesday at a hostel on Santa Teresa Beach in Provincia de Puntarenas, the Marshals Service […]
10 hours ago
Associated Press

Qatar donates $60 million to Lebanon’s army during crisis

BEIRUT (AP) — Qatar has donated $60 million to the Lebanese army, hard hit by the Mediterranean nation’s unprecedented economic meltdown, Qatar News Agency reported Thursday. The announcement came shortly after Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani arrived in Beirut, where he is expected to meet senior Lebanese officials. Lebanon’s nearly three-year crisis […]
10 hours ago
FILE - A Northwell Health registered nurse fills a syringe with a COVID-19 vaccine at a pop up vacc...
Associated Press

Tweaked COVID boosters in US must target newer omicron types

U.S. regulators told COVID-19 vaccine makers Thursday that any booster shots tweaked for the fall will have to add protection against the newest omicron relatives. The Food and Drug Administration said the original vaccines would be used for anyone still getting their first series of shots. But with immunity waning and the super-contagious omicron family […]
10 hours ago
FILE - A man from Nicaragua sits at a shelter for migrants, April 21, 2022, in Tijuana, Mexico. The...
Associated Press

Supreme Court: Biden properly ended Trump-era asylum policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Biden administration properly ended a Trump-era policy forcing some U.S. asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico. The justices’ 5-4 decision for the administration came in a case about the “Remain in Mexico” policy under President Donald Trump. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the decision and […]
10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Daily virus cases in Russia double as omicron spreads