Russia's COVID-19 deaths surpass 50,000

FILE PHOTO: Hospital for COVID-19 patients in Vologda

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The number of COVID-19 deaths in Russia surpassed 50,000 on Saturday as the country continues to fight stubbornly high numbers of new infections daily.

Russia's official coronavirus task force said that 585 people had died from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the country's official death toll to 50,347. The country also recorded 28,209 new infections, bringing the national tally to 2,819,429.

The authorities in Moscow, which reported 6,459 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, said they raided bars that had been in violation of an order to remain closed between 11pm and 6am until Jan. 15 to contain the virus.

Footage broadcast on local television showed city inspectors and riot police forcing open the door of a bar in central Moscow using a mallet and a crowbar. The authorities said the establishment had continued to serve customers clandestinely after hours, in violation of city rules.

"The situation remains difficult," Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin was quoted as saying by RIA news agency late on Friday.

"The number of (COVID-19) patients in hospitals is approaching 13,000, many of them are seriously ill."

Russia rolled out the Sputnik V vaccine to medics and other frontline workers in Moscow earlier this month, and more than 200,000 people have already been vaccinated.

Data published this week found Sputnik V, which Russian regulators approved in August after less than two months of human testing, to be 91.4% effective.

(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Alexander Smith and David Evans)