MOSCOW – Moscow is facing a new variant of the coronavirus that is more aggressive and contagious, and the situation in the city is deteriorating rapidly, its mayor said on Thursday.
The Russian capital reported 7,704 new infections on Sunday, the highest number in a single day since December 24. Authorities have confirmed 14,723 cases nationwide, the largest one-day total since February 13. Daily numbers have remained high this week.
Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Friday’s workload would be over 9,000, the most recorded in Moscow since the start of the pandemic. Until early June, daily new infections were mostly below 3,000 for months.
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“A new mutation has arrived, a new strain is active. It is more aggressive, it is more difficult to recover from it, it spreads faster. It is much more likely to penetrate a person’s immune system,” Sobyanin said, according to the RIA news agency.
He made the remark while meeting people who worked in the restaurant business in Moscow.
In separate comments at a government meeting broadcast on television, Sobyanin said the city was rapidly increasing its number of hospital beds to deal with a possible influx of Covid-19 patients. There are currently enough beds available, he said.
“This dynamic is quite unexpected given that over 60 percent of Muscovites have already been sick or been vaccinated – this is a large segment of the population … We of course did not expect an increase (of cases ), but at a decrease, ”said Sobyanin.
The head of the consumer health watchdog, who was also present at the meeting, said the number of coronavirus cases attributed to the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, was increasing dramatically across the board. the country.
Sobyanin did not say which variant he was referring to. He did not announce any new restrictions to curb the outbreak, but said they could happen.
“We are very close to tougher decisions – temporary but more stringent – in terms of restrictions,” Sobianin said during the meeting with representatives of catering companies.
The Kremlin has expressed dismay at the slow progress of Russia’s vaccination program, despite Russia spreading its Sputnik fire widely to the people of Moscow in December.
Authorities in Moscow ordered workers in public roles to be vaccinated against COVID-19 on Wednesday.
Sobyanin said the number of people signing up for the shooting tripled on Thursday and that he expected the increase in the number of cases to further stimulate demand: “I think the number will increase every day.”