Russia Emerges As Europe’s New Coronavirus Hotspot

Photograph: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty
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Another record rise in coronavirus infections has propelled Russia past Germany and France to the fifth-highest tally in the world.

With much of Europe now easing itself out of confinement, Russia has become the continent’s new COVID-19 hotspot. More than half of the country’s 177,160 cases are in Moscow and the capital’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, said research suggested the actual number was nearer 300,000, more than triple the official figure.

Sobyanin, an ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said the tally was rising so steeply because of increased testing.

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“The fact that we have identified so many sick people is a huge plus, not a minus,” he said because it meant those infected could be quarantined and the spread of the virus slowed.

Critics say Russia’s official death toll of 1,625 is relatively low because not all deaths of people who have contracted the virus are being counted as Covid-19 deaths.

Authorities in the country insist Russia’s outbreak began later than in many other countries, allowing it to prepare better.

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