Russia recorded 50,952 new COVID-19 infections over the last 24 hours, the government's coronavirus task force said on Friday, the highest daily tally in almost six months.

Case numbers have climbed across Russia over the last six weeks, fuelled by the spread of new highly-transmissible variants of the coronavirus.

Friday's tally was the highest number of new cases reported in a 24-hour period since March 10.

Russia was one of the countries most severely affected by the pandemic based on the number of excess fatalities, as the Kremlin largely shunned strict restrictions following a short lockdown in April 2020, while vaccine uptake was slow. (Reporting by Reuters Editing by Gareth Jones)