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Russia says it has already vaccinated 100,000 people against Covid

Russia has vaccinated 100,000 people against Covid-19, according to the country’s health minister.  

Mikhail Murashko told the United Nations during a remote presentation on Wednesday that the recipients of Sputnik V vaccine had all been deemed to be at high risk from the virus.

Russia last month said its interim results showed the jab to be 92 per cent effective at protecting people from Covid-19.  

President Vladimir Putin has ordered authorities to begin mass voluntary vaccinations next week, saying teachers and doctors should be first in line to receive the jab.  

It came as Russia, which has the fourth highest number of recorded infections in the world, registered 589 new daily coronavirus deaths on Wednesday.  

Mr Putin said Russia will have produced two million vaccine doses within the next few days.  

Sputnik V, one of two Russian-made vaccines to have received domestic regulatory approval so far despite clinical trials being incomplete, requires two injections.  

A third vaccine is in also being developed.  

Mr Putin told deputy prime minister Tatiana Golikova: "Let's agree on this - you will not report to me next week, but you will start large-scale vaccination ... let's get to work already.  

“I understand that you're using very careful language, and it's absolutely right that we are cautious, but I know that industry and the [health] network are in general ready. Let's take this first step."  

According to the presentation, more than 45,000 people are currently participating in Sputnik V trials worldwide.  

The Kremlin earlier gave assurances that Russians were first in line to be vaccinated, with Moscow also discussing supply deals with other countries.  

Russia’s health minister Mikhail Murashko has said the country has already vaccinated 100,000 against Covid-19

"The absolute priority is Russians," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "Production within Russia, which is already being developed, will meet the needs of Russians."  

Authorities in St Petersburg, which reported 3,684 new infections on Wednesday, ordered bars and restaurants to close from 30 December until 3 January, to combat a rise in cases in the city, the RIA news agency reported.  

Museums, theatres and concert halls will be closed to the public in the city of more than five million people for the duration of Russia's New Year holidays.  

With 2,347,401 infections, Russia only has fewer Covid-19 cases than the United States, India and Brazil. It has recorded 41,053 deaths related to the virus since the start of the pandemic.  

Russia has resisted imposing lockdowns during the second wave of the virus, preferring targeted regional curbs.  

Additional reporting by Reuters

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