Moscow, June 17 (Reuters) – Moscow is facing a new variant of coronavirus that is more aggressive and contagious, and the situation in the city is deteriorating rapidly, the mayor said on Thursday.
The Russian capital reported 7,704 new infections on Sunday, the most in a single day since December 24. Authorities confirmed 1
Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Friday’s case load would be more than 9,000, which would be the most recorded in Moscow since the pandemic began. By early June, daily new infections had mostly been below 3,000 for several months.
“A new mutation has arrived, a new strain is active. It’s more aggressive, it’s harder to recover from, it spreads faster. It’s much more likely to enter a person’s immune system,” Sobyanin said. RIA News Agency.
He made the remark when he met people working in Moscow’s restaurant business.
In separate comments at a government meeting broadcast on television, Sobyanin said the city was rapidly increasing the number of hospital beds to treat a possible influx of COVID-19 patients. There are currently enough beds available, he said.
“This dynamic is rather unexpected given that more than 60% of Muscovites have either already been ill or been vaccinated – that’s a large part of the population … Of course, we did not expect an increase (in cases), but a decrease, Said Sobyanin.
The head of the Consumer Health Watch, who was also at the meeting, said the number of coronavirus cases attributed to the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, increased markedly across the country.
Sobyanin did not say which variant he had referred to. He announced no new restrictions to get a handle on the outbreak, but said they could come.
“We are very close to stricter decisions – temporary but stricter – in terms of restrictions,” Sobyanin said at the meeting with representatives of restaurant companies.
The Kremlin has expressed dismay at the slow progress in Russia’s vaccination program, despite Russia making its Sputnik shot widely available to the people of Moscow in December.
Moscow authorities on Wednesday ordered workers with public roles to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Read more
Sobyanin said the number of people who signed up for the shooting had tripled on Thursday and that he expected the case would increase the need further: “I think the number will increase every day.”
Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Anton Zverev Writing by Tom Balmforth Editing by Peter Graff
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