Russia began easing nation-wide lockdown restrictions last week and announced the national football league would restart in late June.

Critics have cast doubt on Russia’s low official mortality rate, accusing authorities of under-reporting in order to play down the scale of the crisis.

Russian health officials say one of the reasons the count is lower is that only deaths directly caused by the virus are being included.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova over the weekend denied manipulation of numbers, saying hospitals had a financial interest in identifying infections because they are allocated more money to treat coronavirus patients.

Authorities also say that since the virus came later to Russia, there was more time to prepare hospital beds and launch wide-scale testing to slow the spread.

AFP contributed reporting to this article.