MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s coronavirus cases overtook Italian and British infections on Monday to become the third highest in the world after a record daily rise hours before President Vladimir Putin was due to review the country’s lockdown regime.
The official tally surged to 221,344, meaning Russia now has more registered cases than Italy or Britain and only trails Spain and the United States, as the number of new cases of the novel coronavirus jumped by 11,656 in the past 24 hours.
More than half of all cases and deaths are in Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s outbreak. On Monday, it reported an overnight increase of 6,169 new cases, bringing its official total to 115,909.
The country’s coronavirus response centre also reported 94 new deaths, taking the overall death toll to 2,009 people. The official death toll remains far lower than in many countries, something Kremlin critics have queried.
Russian officials attribute the rising and large number of cases to a massive testing programme which they say has seen over 5.6 million tests conducted.
Putin is due to hold a meeting later on Monday, a public holiday in Russia, to decide whether to modify the country’s lockdown regime which entered into force at the end of March.
(Reporting by Moscow newsroom; Editing by Andrew Osborn)