May 23, 2020 - 16:35 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Russia reported 9,434 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, May 23, as questions continue to be raised about the safety of frontline workers and the country's official Covid-19 figures, CNN reports.
Russia now officially has 335,882 cases of Covid-19, making it the country with the second-highest number of confirmed cases. It has recorded 3,388 deaths attributed to the virus.
But there have been suggestions that even those numbers understate the true scale of the country's outbreak.
In an Instagram Live interview Sunday with a local journalist, the head of Dagestan's ministry of health gave figures far higher than Moscow's, saying the total number of people infected with coronavirus and community-acquired pneumonia in the southern Russian republic exceeded 13,000, with 657 dead.
Asked by journalist Ruslan Kurbanov to explain why Covid-19 and pneumonia cases were being counted separately, the health official, Dzhamaludin Gadzhiibragimov, responded that pneumonia patients are treated as if they have the virus, but not all cases are ascribed to coronavirus due to a lack of testing.
"Basically, the same [treatment] methodology is used for both," he said. "But because we do not have lab test confirmation, the statistics are being compiled in that way."
Doctors in the region have complained in the past weeks on social media about the lack of protective equipment, and some hospitals have not had space to treat their staff. A video of nurses hooked up to intravenous drips in a storage room in the city of Derbent went viral in early May.