Putin says Russia is more ‘open’ than other countries
The announcement now makes it the third worst hit country in the world in terms of COVID-19 fatalities. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has been vocal about the country’s reported low death rate from the virus.
Earlier this month Mr Putin even said Russia had done better at managing the pandemic than western countries.
But experts have been warning that the country was playing down its coronavirus outbreak.
On Monday, Russian officials admitted that it had underreported the country’s COVID-19 figures.
The Rosstat statistics agency revealed that the number of deaths from any cause recorded between January and November had risen by 229,700 compared to the year before.
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Tatiana Golikova, Russia’s deputy prime minister, said “more than 81 percent” of the increased fatality rate was due to COVID-19.
This means that more than 186,000 Russians died from the virus in that period.
Russia had reported more than 3million infections since the beginning of the pandemic, making it the fourth-highest in the world for COVID-19 cases.
But its health officials had only registered 55,265 deaths, a figure much lower than other countries hit hard by the virus.
Rosstat’s new figures now show that Russia has the world’s third-highest coronavirus death toll behind the US and Brazil.
The US has recorded 333,140 deaths related to the coronavirus and over 19 million COVID-19 cases, making it the world’s worst affected country according to the data available.
Alexei Raksha, a demographer who left Rosstat in July, told AFP earlier this month that the Russian health ministry and consumer health ministry reported fake coronavirus numbers.
The new data also revealed that more people died in Russia in November 2020 than in any other single month since the country began collecting figures 16 years ago.
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Russia was criticised for only listing deaths related to the coronavirus where an autopsy had confirmed the virus as the main cause.
President Putin has been reluctant to impose a nationwide lockdown despite Russia’s increased infections.
The Russian government has predicted that the country’s economy will decrease by 3.9 percent this year.
Russia’s authorities are reportedly worried that inflicting a lockdown would damage the already fragile economy.
During his year-end press conference earlier this month, President Putin said he did not want to impose the kind of lockdowns many European countries have introduced ahead of the Christmas holidays.
He said: “If we follow the rules and demands of health regulators, then we do not need any lockdowns.”
Russia has high hopes it can curb the coronavirus outbreak by vaccinating its population with the Sputnik V jab.
Earlier this month, the country launched a mass vaccination programme targeting high-risk workers aged 18-60 who do not have chronic illnesses.
At the weekend, people over the age of 60 were given the green light to receive the jab.
Russia has not confirmed how many people have been vaccinated with the Sputnik V jab so far but 700,000 doses are said to have been released.
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