The number of new COVID-19 cases in Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg has surpassed that of Moscow for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
St. Petersburg recorded 3,657 new cases of the coronavirus over a 24-hour period ending on January 4 compared with 3,591 new cases in Moscow, Russian media reported.
Moscow, which has about 13 million residents, or nearly double that of St. Petersburg, has seen the number of new cases fall by half over the past two weeks.
Daily new cases in St. Petersburg have remained around the same level.
The decline in Moscow pushed the total number of new daily COVID-19 cases in Russia below 20,000 on January 4 for the first time since December 1.
Russia has recorded more than 3.2 million cases of COVID-19, the world’s fourth-largest tally after the United States, India, and Brazil. The country has officially recorded more than 58,000 deaths, the eighth-highest globally.
However, there are widespread doubts over the accuracy of official Russian data.
Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova last month revealed that more than 80 percent of excess deaths this year are linked to COVID-19, which would mean its death toll is three times higher than officially reported.