Russia’s virus cases exceed 1 million; 4th highest globally

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Pupils wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus sit in a classroom during a ceremony marking the start of classes at a school as part of the traditional opening of the school year known as “Day of Knowledge” in Grozny, Russia, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Across the country, schools start their usually festive opening day on Sept. 1. (AP Photo/Musa Sadulayev)

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 1 million on Tuesday as authorities reported 4,729 new cases.

With a total of 1,000,048 reported cases, Russia has the fourth-highest caseload in the world after the U.S., Brazil and India. Authorities say 17,250 people with the virus in Russia have died, a significantly lower reported toll than in the other three countries.

Experts say the true toll of the pandemic is much higher than all reported figures, due to limited testing, missed mild cases and concealment of cases by some governments, among other factors.

As of Tuesday, Russia has lifted most lockdown restrictions in the majority of the country’s regions.

Last month, Russian authorities announced approval of the first-ever COVID-19 vaccine — a move that Western experts greeted with skepticism and unease as the shots were only tested on a few dozen people. Last week, Russian officials announced the start of advanced trials of the vaccine among 40,000 people.

It remains unclear whether vaccination of risk groups in Russia — such as doctors and teachers — announced earlier this year will be part of the trials or be carried out in parallel.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last month one of his daughters had already been vaccinated.

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Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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