Russia proposes week-long workplace shutdown as COVID deaths hit new record… New Zealand Covid cases hit record despite vaccination push

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MOSCOW, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Russia on Tuesday proposed to shut workplaces for a week at the start of November as its daily COVID-19 death toll hit a new record and a sharp rise in cases continued, leading to fresh calls from the Kremlin for people to get vaccinated.

Russia’s COVID-19 task force reported 1,015 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest single-day toll since the start of the pandemic, as well as 33,740 new infections, just shy of a record daily rise, with authorities blaming the surge on a slow vaccination campaign.

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Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova proposed that Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 be deemed non-working days to combat rising infections. Russia has taken similar steps at previous times during the pandemic, notably for around a month when it first struck in March last year.

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New Zealand recorded its highest number of daily coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic on Tuesday as a Delta-variant outbreak that dashed the nation’s “Covid Zero” hopes showed no signs of easing.

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Health authorities announced 94 new virus cases, exceeding the previous daily record of 89 set in April last year during the first wave of Covid-19 infections.

While case numbers remain low by most international standards, they have been steadily growing since the highly transmissible Delta variant was first found in New Zealand in mid-August.

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