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Russia recorded more than 400,000 excess deaths from last April to this March during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the state statistics agency published on Friday.

Excess death figures, which some epidemiologists say are the best way to measure the true toll from COVID-19 given that counting methods vary between countries, surpass official COVID-19 death figures in many countries.

Excess deaths are typically defined as the difference between the observed numbers of deaths in specific time periods and expected numbers of deaths in the same time periods.

Rosstat, the statistics agency, said Russia recorded around 250,000 deaths related to COVID-19 from last April to this March.

The death rate was around 25 per cent higher in March 2021 compared with the same month a year ago, when Moscow authorities imposed lockdowns on March 30, 2020, and grounded international flights to contain the virus.

Rosstat said that more than 191,000 people had died last month, including 23,715 from causes related to COVID-19.

Russia’s official coronavirus task force said on Friday that the authorities had recorded more than 4.8 million cases nationwide since the start of the pandemic.

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