MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia saw a record daily increase in coronavirus cases on Wednesday as Moscow introduced online learning for many students in a bid to contain the rapidly spreading virus.
Although the number of new infections has been steadily rising in recent days, the authorities have said they see no need to impose any lockdowns or restrictions on economic activity.
Russia’s coronavirus taskforce said on Wednesday that it had recorded 14,231 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the most of any day since the pandemic began. In the same period 239 people died, it said, bringing the death toll to 23,205.
Home to nearly 13 million people, Moscow has been the area of the country hardest-hit by the pandemic, reporting more than 4,500 new infections on Wednesday.
Sergei Sobyanin, the city’s mayor, said students from the sixth to the 11th grade would be taking online classes for a two-week period starting on Monday, while younger students would continue attending school as usual.
For the past two weeks students have been on a holiday designed to prevent them from contracting the virus and taking it home.
Sobyanin said older students would be studying online at home because they accounted for two-thirds of children infected with the virus.
“The decisions that we have made today are not easy but are simply necessary taking into account both the epidemiological situation and the need for schoolchildren to receive a quality education,” he wrote on his website.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said the coronavirus situation in the country remained extremely strained and that many people were not following all safety guidelines.
Since the start of the pandemic, Russia has recorded 1,340,409 infections, the fourth largest number of cases in the world behind the United States, India and Brazil.
(Reporting by Anastasia Teterevleva, Gleb Stolyarov and Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Robert Birsel and Jan Harvey)