Russia Surpasses China in Number of Coronavirus Cases

The Russian government reported 87,147 cases on Monday, which is almost 4,000 more than China’s official toll of 83,912. Almost 6,200 new infections were registered in the past 24 hours, making Russia the country with the second-biggest number of cases, Vedomosti reports.

The actual number of infections in both countries is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. Many also believe that governments in both Russia and China could be manipulating the statistics for political purposes.

Russia had been reporting comparatively low numbers of coronavirus cases until April, and the Kremlin insisted the situation was under control. In mid-April, Russians were supposed to vote for a constitutional reform that would allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036, and Kremlin critics argued the government was downplaying the crisis ahead of the vote.

In late March, Putin postponed the vote indefinitely. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has been growing exponentially since then. In total, 794 people have been killed by the virus in the country.

In less than a month, Russia became one of the three leaders among world countries, both in terms of the absolute number of tests carried out and in the number per 100,000 population. Since the end of February, a dozen companies have appeared in Russia producing tests for the new virus. About half of the registered test systems were created by state-run organizations.

The majority of Russia’s cases are in Moscow, although Covid-19 patients have been confirmed in every one of Russia’s 85 regions and the spread is accelerating outside the capital. Since March 30, all of Moscow’s 12 million residents have been ordered to stay in their homes with few exceptions.

Moscow officials have warned the capital “will face difficult weeks” ahead. 

Under confinement rules that Muscovites have to observe until at least May 1, they are only allowed to leave their homes to go to work, walk their dogs, take out the trash or visit their nearest shop.

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