MOSCOW, February 5. /TASS/. All measures introduced in Russia to prevent and combat the newly identified coronavirus are absolutely imperative and justified, but Russians should fear the flu more than the novel coronavirus, President of the National Medical Chamber Leonid Roshal told reporters Wednesday.
"Russia was faced with such a mobilization of resources and means long ago. Everyone is frightened, so Russia’s response is absolutely justified," Roshal explained. "We cannot play down the danger of the coronavirus, but we must keep absolutely calm. I would rather talk about the flu," which he noted was just as hazardous as the coronavirus.
Roshal explained that massive flu epidemics strike Russia every five or six years, causing around a thousand deaths. He added that more people have lost their lives in Russia from the flu than from the current coronavirus in China, if the populations of China and Russia are compared.
"Our pharmacies have enough supplies of medicines to prevent and treat the flu. We are not panicking, rather we are tackling it," he added. "People should practice hygiene measures and ventilation, since elementary things are crucial for us. As for me, the flu is a greater risk than the coronavirus."
Earlier, the Russian Aerospace Forces had completed their air evacuation of Russian nationals from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. A total of 144 people were taken to a medical facility in the Siberian region of Tyumen. Among them are 128 Russians and 16 foreigners. About 60 medical staff will take care of them.
"Tyumen has certain staff and technical capabilities for accommodating those people. We mustn't abandon our own, but the quarantine regulations are valid and should not be feared," Roshal insisted.
On December 31, 2019, the Chinese authorities reported to the World Health Organization about an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown etiology in Wuhan, an economic and industrial metropolis with a population of 11 million. The virus - 2019-nCoV - was identified on January 7, 2020. Apart from China, 24 other countries, including Russia, have reported confirmed coronavirus cases. The World Health Organization declared the new coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, characterizing it as an epidemic with multiple locations. According to the latest reports, 24,300 cases of patients infected with the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in China. The virus’ death toll has now hit 492, yet more than 900 patients have recovered from the disease.