Russia has reported some Covid-19 infections with a new coronavirus variant believed to be even more contagious than the Delta one, the RIA news agency said on Thursday.
It is possible that the AY.4.2 variant will spread widely, RIA quoted the state consumer watchdog's senior researcher Kamil Khafizov as saying.
That could cause the rate of new Covid-19 cases, already at record highs in Russia, to rise even further.
The new variant could even replace Delta eventually, although the process is likely to be slow, he said.
President Vladimir Putin this week approved a government proposal for a week-long workplace shutdown at the start of November, after coronavirus-related deaths across Russia in the past 24 hours hit yet another daily record of 1,028 on Wednesday, with 34,073 new infections.
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