A new report from Russia’s state statistics agency shows the country recorded a record number of deaths in July of people infected with coronavirus.
The report from the Rosstat agency said 50,421 people suffering from COVID-19 died during the month, sharply higher than the previous record of 44,435 in December.
However, the agency said in the report that only 38,992 deaths were directly attributed to the disease. In another 5,206 deaths, the virus was assessed as likely the main cause but that more investigation would be needed; in 1,449 other cases, the virus contributed to the deaths but was not the main cause.
Rosstat said the other 4,844 deaths of infected people were not connected to the virus.
The report said the total of virus-related deaths in Russia by the end of July was 215,265 — well higher than the 180,840 cited by the national coronavirus task force. Russian officials ascribe that to different counting methods, saying the task force only includes deaths where COVID-19 was the main cause.
Officials also say the task force uses data from medical facilities while Rosstat takes its numbers from civil registry offices, where registering a death is finalized.
Russia’s vaccination drive against COVID-19 has lagged behind other nations. As of mid-August, only a quarter of the country’s 146 million people had received at least one vaccine dose, while 20 per cent had been fully vaccinated.
Authorities in many regions have made vaccines mandatory for certain groups of workers, including those employed in health care, education, retail, public transportation and government offices.
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What’s happening around the world
As of Saturday, more than 215.5 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 case tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.4 million.
In Asia, Tokyo City Hall has apologized for “confusion” amid its vaccination rollout targeting young people, after crowds looking to get the shot were turned away from a facility in the Japanese capital. Health authorities on Saturday switched to a reservation system instead of first come, first served. But more than 2,200 people showed up to get vaccine appointment vouchers, some waiting in line since dawn, and 354 were selected by lottery to receive shots, Japanese media reported.
In Europe, thousands turned out in Berlin to protest the German government’s coronavirus measures, despite bans against several planned gatherings. The Saturday protests come amid debates in Germany about how and whether to impose restrictions for unvaccinated people, a question taking on more urgency as coronavirus case numbers rise.
In the Americas, hundreds of parents in Mexico have resorted to filing for court injunctions to get coronavirus vaccines for their children after the government refused to consider vaccinating those under 18. About 15 parents have won the injunctions and got their children shots as the government presses schools to return to in-person classes Monday.
In Africa, authorities have arrested Dr. Eteni Longondo, Congo’s former public health minister, following allegations he misappropriated more than $1 million US in funds allocated by the World Bank to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. It was not immediately known what specific charges Longondo faced or whether he had retained a lawyer.