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27 July


Russia coronavirus cases shoot past 260 000

Many richer Russians caught the virus during their annual ski holiday at a French ski resort in March

Christ the Saviour cathedral in central Moscow Photo: AFP

/NOVOSTIVL/ Russia’s coronavirus case tally rose above 260000 on Friday, cementing its status as the country with the second highest number of infections after the US, as the city of Moscow began offering free antibody tests. Russia’s death toll rose by 113 overnight to reach 2418, the country’s coronavirus task force said, while the case tally jumped by 10598 to hit 262843. This article appeared in AFP.

Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s outbreak, started mass antibody testing of residents on Friday to try to work out what portion of the population has already been infected and to identify infected people with no symptoms.

Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow’s mayor, has promised over 200000 such tests a day by the end of May, and said the programme will help him decide how and when to ease lockdown measures which have forced many businesses to close.

Though Russia was quick to seal off much of its border with China to try to reduce the spread of the virus it was slower to close down European travel.

Many richer Russians caught the virus during their annual ski holiday at the French ski resort of Courchevel in March, six Russians familiar with the matter said, three of whom fell ill after their own trip there.

One of them, Alexander Sorkin, a wealthy Russian restaurateur, flew back via Geneva on March 9 and was diagnosed with the virus several days later. He said he knew of at least 60 others with virus symptoms after the trip.

Musa Bazhayev, president of Russian Platinum, one of the world’s major producers of the metal, and tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov were in Courchevel around the same time, three people who know them said.

Bazhayev was later taken to hospital with symptoms of the virus, three sources said. Bazhayev’s spokesman declined to comment.

A spokeswoman for Prokhorov said the businessman “has not been and is not being treated for Covid-19 and has no indications of illness”.