MOSCOW, March 25. /TASS/. Two private laboratories in Moscow and St. Petersburg are launching coronavirus testing on March 25, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said at a meeting of the Coordination Council for the Prevention of the Coronavirus.
"We have discussed the possibility of engaging large private laboratories in testing activities. Two labs will launch testing in Moscow and St. Petersburg today. We’ll see how the work goes," she noted.
Golikova added that the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing had been instructed to build cooperation with those laboratories and ensure "an exchange of information to prevent false positive results."
According to the deputy prime minister, as many as 141 state laboratories are currently conducting coronavirus tests in 79 Russian regions. A total of 17 laboratories of the Federal Biomedical Agency have joined the work.
In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in more than 150 countries, including Russia.
On March 11, the WHO declared the outbreak of a global pandemic. As of now, over 410,000 people have been infected around the world and more than 18,000 have died. Russia has identified 658 cases, 29 patients have recovered. The Russian government has launched an Internet hotline to keep the country’s people informed about the coronavirus situation.