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Russia hit by record coronavirus cases despite paid holiday

Saturday's official tally registered 41,335 new cases in the past 24 hours, the highest number for new infections since the beginning of the pandemic.

November 06, 2021 / 06:02 PM IST

Russia on Saturday reported a record number of daily coronavirus cases as the country reaches the end of a nationwide paid holiday introduced to curb the spread of infections.

Saturday's official tally registered 41,335 new cases in the past 24 hours, the highest number for new infections since the beginning of the pandemic.

The country also reported 1,188 coronavirus deaths during the same period.

President Vladimir Putin last month ordered a paid holiday from October 30 to November 7 in a bid to stem soaring infections and deaths exacerbated by a slow vaccination drive.

A host of regions also introduced additional virus measures with the capital Moscow -- the epicentre of Russia's outbreak -- closing all non-essential services over the non-working period.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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With over 8.7 million cases registered since the start of the pandemic, Russia is one of the worst-hit countries in the world and a devastating wave this autumn has seen infections and deaths reach new records.

Although Russia has rolled out several homegrown vaccines, including Sputnik V, only about a third of the population is fully inoculated.

Russian authorities have been accused of playing down the pandemic and figures from statistics agency Rosstat in October showed nearly twice as many COVID deaths compared with the government tally.

Rosstat said 44,265 people died of coronavirus in September -- nearly double the official government figure -- bringing the agency's total virus toll to nearly 450,000, the highest in Europe.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
AFP
first published: Nov 6, 2021 05:35 pm

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