Russian rocket facility suspends tests to save oxygen for COVID patients

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This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russia will suspend test-firing rocket engines at one of its design bureaus in the city of Voronezh until the end of the month to save oxygen supplies for COVID-19 patients, the head of the Russian space agency, Roskosmos, said on October 10.

Russia, which is grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases, registered 968 COVID-19 deaths on October 9, the highest daily death toll since the pandemic began. Many observers say the government is undercounting COVID-19 deaths, and the actual number is likely significantly higher.

“In view of growing demand for medical oxygen to treat the sick, today we decided to suspend test firing rocket engines at Voronezh’s Chemical Automatics Design Bureau ranges until the end of the month,” Roskosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said on Twitter.

“Our company alone supplies up to 33 tons of oxygen per day,” Rogozin added.

The spike in Russia’s coronavirus figures mirrors trends in other countries, where the more contagious Delta variant has spread widely.

However, Russian authorities have also blamed a stubbornly low vaccination rate.

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