Russia overtakes Germany, France after record rise in coronavirus cases

Grave diggers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) carry a coffin while burying a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) victim in the special purpose section of a graveyard on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg, Russia May 5, 2020. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

Russia’s coronavirus cases overtook France and Germany on Thursday to become the fifth highest number in the world after a record daily rise, and Moscow’s mayor said the real figure, not captured by official statistics, was much higher.

The official tally surged to 177,160, meaning Russia now has more registered cases than Germany or France, as the number of new cases of the novel coronavirus jumped by 11,231 in the past 24 hours.

More than half of all cases and deaths are in Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s outbreak, which on Thursday reported a record overnight increase of 6,703 new cases, bringing its official total to 92,676.

But Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said research showed the real number of cases in the Russian capital was around 300,000, or more than triple the official figure.

Moscow’s health department said that late-stage testing for the coronavirus often produced false-negative results and that more and more Muscovites displayed no symptoms or suffered only mild cases.

Russia’s official death toll, which remains far lower than in many countries, something that has been called into question by some Kremlin critics, rose to 1,625 on Thursday after 88 people died overnight, official figures showed.

Moscow and other Russian regions are in their sixth week of a lockdown. The capital’s residents have been told to stay at home except in certain circumstances, such as going out to buy food and medicine. They must obtain a digital permit to travel anywhere by public or private transport.

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