Moscow – Russia said on Monday that its coronavirus death toll was more than three times higher than it had previously reported, making it the country with the third-largest number of fatalities.
For month, the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, has boasted about Russia’s low fatality rate from the virus, saying earlier this month that it had done a better job at managing the pandemic than western countries.
But since the beginning of the pandemic, some Russian experts have said the government was playing down the country outbreak.
On Monday, however, Russian officials admitted that was true. The Rosstat statistics agency said that the number of deaths from all causes recorded between January and November had risen by 229, 700 compared with the previous year.
“More than 81% of this increase in mortality over this period is due to Covid,” said the deputy prime minister, Tatiana Golikova, meaning that more than 186,000 Russians have died from Covid-19.
Health officials in Russia have registered more than 3million infections since the pandemic started, putting the country’s caseload at fourth-highest in the world.
But they have only reported 55,265 deaths – a much lower fatality rate than in other badly hit countries.
Russia has been criticised for only listing Covid deaths where an autopsy confirms the virus was the main cause.