Russia has reported the highest number of daily new coronavirus infections, more than 70% up on the figure for a month ago, as the country faces a sustained surge in cases.
The national coronavirus taskforce said on Sunday that 34,303 new infections were recorded the day before, which compares to 20,174 on September 19.
The death toll of 999 was just below the previous record of 1,002 reported on Saturday.
Russian authorities have tried to speed up the pace of vaccinations with lotteries, bonuses and other incentives, but widespread scepticism about the jabs and conflicting signals from officials have hindered efforts.
The government said this week that about 43 million Russians, some 29% of the population, are fully vaccinated.
Despite the mounting toll, the Kremlin has ruled out a new nationwide lockdown like the one early on in the pandemic that badly hit the economy and eroded President Vladimir Putin’s popularity.
Instead, it has delegated the power to enforce coronavirus restrictions to regional authorities.
Some of Russia’s 85 regions have restricted attendance at large public events and limited access to cinemas, restaurants and other venues.
However, daily life is going on largely as normal in Moscow, St Petersburg and many other Russian cities.
The highest concentrations of cases are mostly in comparatively urbanised western Russia and in the developed areas along the Pacific Coast such as Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, but the sparsely populated Siberian region of Sakha and Chukotka in the extreme north-east also show high case rates of more than 150 infections per 100,000 people.
Overall, the coronavirus taskforce has registered more than 7.99 million confirmed cases and 223,312 deaths – Europe’s highest death toll.
The official record ranks Russia as having the fifth most pandemic deaths in the world following the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.
However, state statistics agency Rosstat, which also counts deaths in which the virus was not considered the main cause, has reported a much higher pandemic death toll – about 418,000 people with Covid as of August.
Based on that number, Russia would rank as the fourth hardest-hit nation in the world, ahead of Mexico.