MOSCOW, March 11. /TASS/. Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairperson Ella Pamfilova is hopeful that the coronavirus situation won’t disrupt a nationwide vote on constitutional amendments.
"I expect that the relevant agencies will do a good job. They have so far earned praise from the WHO [the World Health Organization — TASS] and I hope we won’t find ourselves in a no-win situation," Pamfilova replied to a question about the prospects for the vote in case the coronavirus situation got worse.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin earlier banned all events involving more than 5,000 people.
"We stand ready for any developments and we are trying to foresee any situation that the country’s regions may face. Given how educated our people are and how responsible their attitude to their health is, including personal hygiene measures, I hope that together, our state agencies and common people will solve this problem," Pamfilova said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Russia’s State Duma (the lower house of parliament) passed the third and final reading of a bill amending the country’s Constitution. The bill expands the authority of Russia’s parliament and Constitutional Court, bars officials from holding foreign passports and residence permits and ensures the supremacy of the Constitution within Russia’s legal system. Besides, it adds a reference to God to the Constitution and enshrines the role of Russian as the language of a state-forming ethnic group. The nationwide vote on the bill is expected to be held on April 22, which will be declared a day off.
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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. The WHO declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus a global health emergency and named the virus COVID-19.
Over 80,780 people have been infected with the virus in China. The country’s death toll has passed 3,150, while more than 61,570 patients have recovered. Coronavirus cases have been reported in 120 countries and territories, including Russia. Most cases outside of China have been recorded in South Korea, Iran and Italy. Over 121,000 coronavirus cases and more than 4,370 deaths were confirmed in the world so far.