MOSCOW (AFP) – Nearly 500 Russian medics who tested positive for the coronavirus have died, the head of the state health watchdog said Thursday, a far higher figure than given before.
“489 — that is medics, unfortunately we have lost almost 500 of our colleagues,” the Roszdravnadzor watchdog chief Alla Samoilova said at an online conference, TASS state news agency reported.
Previously a health ministry official on May 26 gave a confirmed death toll of 101.
The new toll is even higher than that given by an independent website set up by medics where colleagues report deaths, the Remembrance List, which lists 444 deaths.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has acknowledged problems in supplying personal protective equipment to medics.
Samoilova also cited this as a factor.
“If I’m being honest, there were issues at the start, there were some shortcomings,” she said.
She added, however, that “today we practically don’t receive complaints… that medics aren’t supplied with PPE or don’t get tested (for the virus)”.
Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin, now head of the audit chamber, said this month that “medicine is significantly underfunded”.
Russia has reported a total of 7,660 deaths from coronavirus, counting only cases where the virus was listed as the main cause of death.
The total number of confirmed cases in Russia is 561,091, including 7,790 over the last 24 hours, a figure that has fallen over this month.