Radio Free Europe

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Russia Faces Sustained Rise In COVID-19 Cases

Russian authorities said on October 17 that 34,303 new COVID-19 infections and 999 deaths were recorded on the previous day, as the country faces a sustained rise in coronavirus cases.

Despite the mounting toll, however, the Kremlin has ruled out a new nationwide lockdown like the one early on in the pandemic that badly hurt the economy. Instead, it has delegated the power to enforce coronavirus restrictions to regional authorities.

The climbing COVID-19 statistics in Russia come as the nation's vaccination drive is at a standstill and many people remain vaccine skeptic.

Russian authorities have tried to speed up the pace of vaccinations with lotteries, bonuses, and other incentives, but independent polls show more than half of Russians do not plan to get a shot.

The government said this week that only about 43 million Russians -- or some 29 percent of the country’s nearly 146 million people -- are fully vaccinated.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

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