Russian state media reports a grim milestone for a country which though early on reported cases months ago, appears to be peaking late, following officials initially downplaying the pervasiveness of the disease.
From Tuesday into Wednesday over the course of a mere 24 hours new coronavirus cases rose by 5,841 to 99,399 - TASS reports. The prior day, Tuesday, the country reported 6,411 new infections, now the single-day record increase thus far.
This puts the country on track to hit 100,000 by Thursday or at least by end of the week, meaning Russia has this week surpassed Iran and China, and now has the eighth highest count of infections globally.
"A total of 99,399 coronavirus cases have so far been recorded in 85 Russian regions (up by 6.2%). As many as 1,830 people were discharged from hospitals in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 10,286. As many as 972 people have died," a statement from Russia's anti-coronavirus crisis center reads.
Very alarmingly, the center further detailed that 44.9% of the new cases recorded (2,624) have no symptoms.
"Another 2,220 patients have been confirmed in Moscow, bringing the number of cases in the city to 50,646," TASS says further of the nation's epicenter. The situation in Moscow strongly suggests the entirely state-run national health system (which is "free" to all citizents) is fast becoming overwhelmed, as the independent Moscow Times notes:
At least 170 doctors and patients at a hospital in central Russia have tested positive for coronavirus in preliminary tests, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin has indicated that construction is underway of temporary hospitals with the combined capacity for 10,000 beds.
Chart & data via The Moscow Times
And in another sign that hospitals, woefully short on personal protective equipment (PPE) like many Western nations, are collapsing under the strain, there's at least one instance of an entire medical building being placed under quarantine:
City hospital No. 1 was placed under quarantine after 78 of its doctors and patients tested positive for the virus, Kuyvashev said on social media. Most of them are asymptomatic, he added, while one patient is in critical condition.
More and more doctors are said to be self-reporting their own coronavirus infections. Amid the sharp daily rises President Putin extended the “non-working” month at least through May 11.
Chief doc at Hospital 15 in Moscow recorded this video warning: 'We're being brought an increasing no of young patients in a really bad way who need ventilating. Our ER is under pressure. There's lots of patients, more & more each day. Esp aged c. 40, brought in in a bad way.' pic.twitter.com/ukzUdxAOZV— Sarah Rainsford (@sarahrainsford) April 23, 2020
Further, the Kommersant business daily has reported authorities are set to take drastic measures to track foreigners' movements in the country utilizing smartphone geolocation technology.
This after earlier this month the Kremlin controversially locked down the borders to all non-commerce related transit.