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Coronavirus cases in Russia surge past 100,000

Coronavirus cases in Russia surged past 100,000 on Thursday, the government said, with an increase of 7,099 confirmed infections in the last 24 hours.

Russia has so far recorded 106,498 cases and 1,073 deaths from the virus, the government’s coronavirus information site said in a daily update.

Russia recently surpassed Iran and China in the total number of confirmed infections and is now eighth in the world in virus cases.

With the number of infections steadily rising by several thousand every day, President Vladimir Putin warned this week that the situation remained “very difficult”.

He said Russia had managed to slow the spread of the epidemic but cautioned that “this should not reassure us.”

Medics in Russia have complained of shortages of protective gear and testing kits and hospital staff are becoming increasingly concerned with deaths in the medical community.

The Kremlin this week extended until May 11 a “non-working” period when Russians would stay at home but still receive their salaries as part of sweeping efforts to contain the virus.

Yet the measure has brought uncertainty to the economy and business owners struggling to pay full salaries to employees while shutting their doors to customers.

Despite the steady increase in cases, Putin said that Russia may begin to gradually lift different quarantine regimes throughout the country from mid-May.

Yet Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Wednesday extended a ban on entry for foreigners into the country, which was due to expire Thursday, until “the fight against the infection is over and the epidemic situation has improved.”

The pandemic has thwarted several major political events for the Kremlin this year, with Putin cancelling a massive military parade on May 9 commemorating the 75th anniversary of victory in World War II.

The Kremlin also postponed an April 22 vote on landmark constitutional reforms, which would have paved the way for Putin, 67, to potentially stay in power until 2036.

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