Moscow is facing a new coronavirus variant that is more aggressive and infectious, and the situation in the city is rapidly deteriorating, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said yesterday.

The Russian capital reported 7,704 new infections on Sunday, the most in a single day since Dec. 24. Authorities confirmed 14,723 cases nationwide, the largest one-day total since Feb. 13. The daily figures have remained high this week.

Sobyanin said Friday’s caseload would be more than 9,000, which would be the most recorded in Moscow since the pandemic began.  Until the beginning of June, daily new infections had been mostly below 3,000 for months.

“A new mutation has arrived, a new strain is active. It is more aggressive, it is harder to recover from, and it spreads faster. It’s much more likely to penetrate a person’s immune system,” Sobyanin said, according to RIA news agency.