Russian health watchdog reveals almost 500 healthcare workers have died from Covid-19 as pandemic spread slows

Russia has dramatically revised its estimate of the damage wrought by coronavirus on the medical personnel. Roszdravnadzor said on Wednesday that 489 healthcare workers have died, a sharp increase from the previous figure of 101.

That tally was published only three weeks ago. Interestingly, the health watchdog’s new calculation is considerably higher than the 444 measured by an online memorial set up by health professionals themselves. It’s also remarkable in the context of the official overall national death toll of 7,760.

“More than half a million people in Russia are really sick [from the infection] and, unfortunately, more than 7,500 people have died today, of whom 489 are medical workers,” Roszdravnadzor chief, Alla Samoilova, told an online conference. “We, sadly, lost nearly 500 of our colleagues.”

Samoilova also warned that the pandemic has not ended in Russia. However, during a government meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin noted a steady decline in the rate of increase of the disease across the country. The growth rate of new cases per day now averages only 1.4 percent. On Tuesday, the daily number of new recorded infections was the lowest since April 30.

On May 26, the Ministry of Health reported 101 deceased healthcare workers. Around the same time, the “Memorial List,” compiled by staff from different regions, showed significantly larger figures. On Wednesday, its tally stood at 444.

Last month, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on additional financial guarantees for doctors working with coronavirus patients. If a doctor dies, their relatives will receive a one-time payment of 2.7 million rubles ($39,000). There is other compensation for various types of disabilities, ranging from $1,000 to $29,000

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