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Russia’s Coronavirus Cases Surge Past 230K as Putin Eases National Lockdown

Russia confirmed 10,899 new coronavirus infections Tuesday, bringing the country’s official number of cases to 232,243.

Russia is now the third most-affected country in terms of infections and has the world’s second-fastest rate of new infections behind the United States.

One hundred and seven people died over the past 24 hours, bringing the total toll to 2,116.

Despite reporting more than 10,000 new cases a day for over a week, President Vladimir Putin on Monday announced that a “non-working” period in place for six weeks would be lifted from Tuesday.

A lockdown in Moscow, the epicenter of the crisis in Russia, remains in place until the end of May, but even in the capital some restrictions were being lifted.

Some 500,000 employees of companies involved in industry and construction were allowed to resume work, though authorities made it mandatory to wear masks and gloves in shops and on public transport.

Russia’s reported mortality rate is much lower compared to other European countries hit hard by the pandemic, with 107 new deaths and 2,116 dead from the coronavirus as of Tuesday.

Authorities say this is because Russia moved quickly to close its borders and isolate those at risk, convert hospitals to treating virus patients and launch a vast campaign to test and quarantine those infected. 

Officials also credit a widespread testing and tracking effort, though critics have cast doubt on the numbers, as Russia uses a different classification method to count the deceased.

AFP contributed reporting to this article.