Russia’s coronavirus crisis centre said 123 new deaths had been confirmed in the last 24 hours as the country’s total number of Covid-19 cases rose to 1,000,048. Russia now has the fourth largest number of Covid-19 cases in the world after the US, Brazil and India. But experts say the true toll of the pandemic is much higher than global reported figures, due to limited testing, missed mild cases and concealment of cases by some governments, among other factors. Russia began lifting lockdown restrictions on Tuesday in the majority of the country’s regions. Last month, Russian authorities announced approval of the first ever Covid-19 vaccine, although the speed at which the country moved to roll out a potential vaccine prompted some to question whether Moscow is putting national prestige ahead of science and safety.
Officials announced last week starting advanced trials of the vaccine among 40,000 people. It remains unclear whether vaccination of risk groups - such as doctors and teachers - announced earlier this year will be part of the trials or carried out in parallel.