The new strain of coronavirus infection COVID-19, first identified in December 2020 in the UK, was found in 22 European countries.

Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, spoke about this at a briefing in Copenhagen.

"22 countries in the WHO European Region have discovered this new option," TASS quotes him.

Kluge confirmed that this type of virus spreads faster than the original, but the course of the disease in both cases is almost the same.

The WHO spokesman added that diseases caused by the new variant of COVID-19 are registered in all age categories.

He also stressed the importance of vaccination against coronavirus, noting that in the context of a limited amount of vaccine and an increasing burden on the health care system, it is necessary first of all to vaccinate the medical workforce and the most vulnerable groups of the population.

The situation with COVID-19 in Russia

In Russia, over the past day, 23,541 new cases of coronavirus infection have been detected.

In the previous two days, this figure was 24,217 (January 6) and 24,246 (January 5). 

The largest number of new cases was recorded in Moscow (4871), St. Petersburg (3005) and the Moscow region (1228). 

Over the past 24 hours, 23,729 patients have recovered, 506 people have died.

According to Rospotrebnadzor, more than 92.6 million laboratory tests have already been conducted in Russia to detect COVID-19.

The press service of the department added that the head of the department, Anna Popova, held a meeting with the heads of departments and organizations of Rospotrebnadzor in the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, dedicated to the current situation with the coronavirus.

The meeting participants drew attention to the fact that the epidemiological situation in the country is stabilizing, there is a slowdown in the growth rate of the number of COVID-19 cases.

“The daily incidence rate has decreased over the last week from 18.9 to 16.5 per 100 thousand population, however, in the regions, the spread of the daily incidence rate varies from 2.44 to 67.98 per 100 thousand population, which indicates the relevance of the existing requirements for the prevention of coronavirus infection, including during the New Year holidays ", - noted in Rospotrebnadzor.

The department added that testing coverage on holidays was kept at the level of 244.8 per 100 thousand of the population per day, and since the beginning of January the call center of Rospotrebnadzor has processed more than 27 thousand calls.

The total number of cases of coronavirus registered in the country reached 3,332,142, 60,457 people died from COVID-19 and related diseases, 2,709,452 patients recovered and were discharged.

On the eve, the head of the Ministry of Health Mikhail Murashko also noted that the situation with coronavirus infection in Russia during the New Year holidays "has generally stabilized", but added that it still "remains tense."

The minister urged Russians not to forget about security measures and, if possible, avoid visiting public places.

He specified that currently more than 211 thousand residents of Russia are in infectious diseases hospitals with a new coronavirus infection or suspicion of it.

“Today, the available bed capacity for the treatment of a new coronavirus infection is 24%.

There are 211.6 thousand citizens in infectious diseases hospitals.

82% of patients are on outpatient treatment ”, - quotes Murashko TASS.

Vaccination against coronavirus

The head of the Ministry of Health also said that more than 1.5 million doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine and over 45 thousand doses of the EpiVacCorona vaccine have already been released into civilian circulation. 

Large-scale vaccination on holidays continues in all regions of the country, Murashko said. 

“On the portal of state services, a diary of the vaccinated is available, in which all citizens who have been vaccinated can enter data about their health ... From January 2, all citizens who have been vaccinated, in their personal account on a single portal of state services, a certificate of vaccination containing QR is available -code, "he said.

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In addition, in the near future, according to Murashko, it is planned to launch another site for the production of Sputnik V.

At the moment, this vaccine is produced in Russia at six sites.

The head of the Ministry of Health recalled that the volume of vaccine production is constantly growing, new lots are being introduced into civil circulation.

The opening of the new site will allow simultaneous storage and logistics of up to 10 million doses of frozen vaccine, he said.

In turn, the head of RDIF, Kirill Dmitriev, announced an increase in production volumes of Sputnik V in Russia. 

“Our manufacturers have dramatically improved their production plans ... We will be able to produce tens of millions of doses of vaccine starting from February,” he said on the Vesti program on the Russia 1 TV channel.

In addition, the RDIF noted that the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine was registered in Bolivia.

The drug was approved without additional clinical trials in the country based on the results of the third phase of clinical trials in Russia, the fund added.

At the same time, RDIF also signed an agreement with the Serbian government to supply 2 million doses of Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to the country, which will make it possible to vaccinate 1 million people.