Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said Tuesday that 151,000 people in Russia are currently in hospital with the coronavirus, amid a third wave driven by the highly contagious Delta variant.
Infections have especially spiked in the capital Moscow and second city Saint Petersburg, which hosts a Euro 2020 quarter-final on Friday.
At a televised meeting of Russia’s coronavirus task force, Murashko said the “situation is tense, especially in large cities”.
“182,000 hospital beds are allocated, 151,000 patients are receiving treatment,” the minister said.
He added that there are currently enough vaccine doses available to fully inoculate 32 million people and there has been a “significant increase” in Russia’s vaccination rate.
In recent weeks, the government has pulled out all the stops to ramp up the vaccination drive that has been faltering despite free jabs being available since December.
As of Tuesday, 22.2 million out of a population of about 146 million had received at least one dose, according to the Gogov website, which tallies Covid figures from the regions and the media.
In response to the recent surge, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin this month introduced mandatory vaccination for 60 percent of service sector workers, with over a dozen Russians regions following his lead.
“The situation in Moscow remains extremely difficult,” and new infections remain at a “very high level”, Sobyanin said at Tuesday’s meeting,
He added that hospitalisations have also grown, with close to 15,000 hospital beds occupied by coronavirus patients in the capital.
A government tally on Tuesday reported the highest daily death count since the outbreak of the pandemic in Russia — the country with the most fatalities from Covid-19 in Europe.
Some 652 coronavirus deaths were announced over the past 24 hours, topping a record set last December.