Russia on Saturday recorded 1,000 deaths over 24 hours for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with the country’s jab drive at a standstill and few restrictions in place.
An official government tally showed 1,002 deaths and 33,208 new infections, setting a high for both fatalities and cases for the third day in a row.
The surge comes with just 32 percent of Russians fully inoculated, according to official statistics published for the first time Saturday.
A lack of tough restrictions has allowed the virus to spread unchecked, though a number of regions have re-introduced QR codes for access to public places.
The Kremlin has avoided re-introducing major measures despite calling the vaccination rate “unacceptably” low, and saying authorities have to ensure “the economy continues working”.
It also said Russia’s medical system was not “overwhelmed” and prepared to take in the rising number of patients.
Authorities have blamed Russians for the growing outbreak.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko this week pointed to their “behaviour”, while Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said everything had been done to give the public the chance to “save their lives by getting vaccinated”.
While several Russian-developed jabs have been available for months, many people remain vaccine-skeptic.
Independent polls show more than half of Russians do not plan to get a shot.