Russia on Friday reported 150 new fatalities from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, a record daily rise, raising the country’s official nationwide death toll from the virus to 3,249.
The country’s coronavirus crisis response center reported 8,894 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infections to 326,448, while 99,825 patients have recovered.
According to officials, more than 8.1 million tests have been conducted across the country.
Out of the 8,894 new cases, 2,988 were in Moscow. This figure was below 3,000 for the third day in the row. The Moscow region recorded 824 cases, while 389 cases were detected in St. Petersburg.
Daily increases also soared in the Nizhny Novgorod region with 202 new cases, Krasnoyarsk with 150, Rostov with 138 and Sverdlovsk Region with 135. Officials reported that almost half of the patients showed no symptoms.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Friday announced the start of the first phase of easing restrictions imposed due to the spread of coronavirus infections. He noted that tough measures introduced in April helped to avoid the worst-case scenarios for the development of the pandemic.
"I believe that in these conditions we can continue the gradual 'opening' of the economy and the resumption of the work of urban organizations," said the mayor.
Sobyanin explained that gloves and masks should be worn not only on trains but at all railway facilities.
Authorities have said the situation is stabilising and half a million industrial and construction workers have been allowed to return to work in Moscow.
One of Russia's most high-profile virus cases, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, returned to work this week after receiving treatment for the illness in hospital.
Russia has recorded far fewer deaths than other countries with large outbreaks, but critics have cast doubt on the low official mortality rate and accused authorities of under-reporting to play down the scale of the crisis.
Russian health officials say one of the reasons the count is lower than in the United States and parts of western Europe is that only deaths directly caused by the virus are being included.
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