MOSCOW - Russia reported 973 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday, its highest single-day toll since the start of the pandemic, and the government voiced concern at the pace and intensity of new infections.
"The main feature of the current wave is an rapid increase in the number of cases, as well as a large number of patients whose infection shows rapid progression over two or three days and require resuscitation," Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said.
He told a televised government meeting that 1.1 million people were currently being treated for symptoms of COVID-19.
Anna Popova, head of Russia's consumer health watchdog, said Russian regions were stepping up efforts to enforce mask use in public spaces.
In the Moscow region, authorities ordered that at least 80% of workers at shopping centers, beauty salons, fitness clubs and other public locations be vaccinated.
The Kremlin has blamed the rising case numbers on insufficient numbers of people getting inoculated.
Russia was fast to develop and launch its Sputnik vaccine when the pandemic struck last year, but take-up has been slow, with many Russians citing distrust of the authorities and fear of new medical products.