Government task force on Wednesday reported 1,028 coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, the highest number since the start of the pandemic.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered the country’s workers to stay off work for a week starting later this month amid rising coronavirus infection and death numbers, and he strongly urged reluctant citizens to get vaccinated, AP reports.

The government task force on Wednesday reported 1,028 coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. That brought Russia’s total death toll to 226,353 which is by far the highest in Europe.

Putin said Wednesday he supports the Cabinet’s proposal to introduce a nonworking period starting Oct. 30 and extending through the following week, when four of seven days already are state holidays. He added in some regions where the situation is the most threatening, the nonworking period could start as early as Saturday and be extended after Nov. 7.

“Our task today is to protect life and health of our citizens and minimize the consequences of the dangerous infection,” Putin said in a video call with top officials. “To achieve that, it’s necessary to first of all slow the pace of contagion and mobilize additional reserves of the health care system, which is currently working under a high strain.”

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