facemask
© AP/Pavel Golovkin
The Discarded
Russian officials have announced the end of all anti-COVID restrictions on the public, including mask requirements.

The country's consumer authority, Rospotrebnadzor, said 93 percent of infected patients were mild or asymptomatic. It said it was "suspending previously introduced restrictions, including the mask regime, a ban on public catering at night, and a number of other measures." But the decree issued on July 1 makes no mention of two-year-old restrictions on leaving the country via land routes.

Official infection numbers last spiked in Russia in February, although like many places testing has eased there.

More than 800,000 people in Russia have died from confirmed COVID-19 cases from a total of 18 million infections in the country.

Some Russian physicians and other medical professionals faced punishment for blowing the whistle on seemingly underreported COVID-19 figures early in the 2 1/2-year pandemic.

Researchers quickly developed and launched a vaccine, Sputnik-V, and exported it, but take-up was hampered by distrust among Russians.

Some 52 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated against the virus.

Recent surges in case numbers in Europe and the Americas, in particular, have been offset by numbers suggesting current variants are less lethal than some previous ones.