The Latest: Russia reports highest virus death toll of 2021

MOSCOW — Russia has reported its highest daily COVID-19 death toll of the year as the country grapples with a sharp spike in infections that has brought new restrictions in some regions.

The national coronavirus task force said Saturday that 619 people died over the past day, the most since Dec. 24. There were were 21,665 new infection cases, nearly 1,300 more than on the previous day and more than double the 9,500 reported on June 1.

More than a third of the new infections were in Moscow. The city on Monday is to begin a system under which restaurant service will be limited to people who can show they’ve been vaccinated or had a recent negative coronavirus test.

Eighteen regions made vaccinations mandatory this month for employees in certain sectors.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— Finland sees spike in virus cases from returning soccer fans

— As virus surges in Uganda, hospitals accused of profiteering

— Mexico reopens temporary hospital space as virus surges

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Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

KAMPALA, Uganda — Virus cases are surging in Uganda, making scarce hospital beds even more expensive.

And concern is growing over the alleged exploitation of patients by private hospitals accused of demanding payment up front and hiking fees.

Uganda is among African countries seeing a dramatic rise in the number of infections amid a severe vaccine shortage. The country has vaccinated under 1% of its 44 million people.

One observer says that without a national health insurance scheme, COVID-19 has highlighted that health care in Uganda is “commoditized, available to the highest bidder.”

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HELSINKI — Finnish health authorities have detected a spike in coronavirus cases that has been traced to soccer fans returning from neighboring Russia following European Championship matches in St. Petersburg.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare has urged “all passengers who have traveled from St. Petersburg to Finland by any bus company to apply for a coronavirus test.” Finland played two of its Euro 2020 group games in St. Petersburg.

At least 2,000 Finns are estimated to have traveled to the city for those matches. The Finnish health institute’s director says more than 120 virus cases have so far been detected from passengers returning from St. Petersburg.

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MEXICO CITY — Mexico says it will reopen two temporary wards to handle a resurgence of COVID-19 cases after months of closing temporary hospital spaces as the coronavirus pandemic receded.

The two temporary 30- and 40-bed wards will be opened in covered areas in parking lots of hospitals in the state of Baja California Sur.

Mexico announced Friday that coronavirus cases have rebounded nationwide by 14% compared to last week, after months of declines. Hospital occupancy nationwide remains at about 17% of capacity, but in some states it has risen to worrisome levels.

Mexico has recorded over 232,300 test-confirmed COVID-19 deaths, but the government estimates the real toll is around 360,000.

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