MOSCOW, March 25. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree postponing the national vote on the proposed constitutional amendments.
The Kremlin’s website informs that the new date for the vote, which was earlier set to take place on April 22, "will be determined in a separate decree of the President of the Russian Federation."
The decree notes that the decision to postpone the vote has been made "to avoid endangering the health of Russian citizens due to an unfavorable epidemiological situation."
Putin stressed during his address to the Russian nation earlier on Wednesday that ensuring public safety and health is a top priority. "I believe that the vote needs to be postponed to a later date. We will see how the situation unfolds in the regions and in the country on the whole, and will make a decision on a new date based on expert opinion," he emphasized.
The president pointed out that the vote had initially been scheduled for April 22. "You know how serious I take it and I will definitely ask you to come and voice your opinion on the matter, which is key and crucial for our society," Putin noted.
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, WHO declared the outbreak of COVID-19 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 of the virus. The Russian government has launched an Internet hotline to keep the country’s people informed about the coronavirus situation.