Russia’s coronavirus caseload surpassed 500,000 on Thursday, after health officials reported 8,779 new infections.
The nation’s total currently stands at 502,436 confirmed cases, including 6,532 deaths.
Experts both in Russia and abroad expressed doubts about the country’s remarkably low pandemic death toll, with some alleging that numbers were manipulated for political reasons. The Russian government repeatedly denied the allegations.
Despite recording almost 9,000 new cases daily for the past month, Russian authorities have started easing lockdown restrictions in many regions – including Moscow, which accounts for about 40 percent of all virus cases and almost half of officially reported deaths.