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Three Russian chief medical officers fired over vacations abroad during pandemic

Four coronavirus infection cases have been registered in the Orenburg Region, all of them are imported

ORENBURG, March 25. /TASS/. Government of the Orenburg Region has voided job contracts with chief medical officers of three regional hospitals over their foreign trips during the coronavirus pandemic, Vice Governor and Regional Health Minister Tatiana Savinova announced in her Instagram.

"Today, I’ve made a decision regarding three chief medical officers who currently either stay abroad or have recently returned but went abroad when the [coronavirus] situation was already very serious, and after the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic. […] I’ve made a decision to void the job contracts. This decision has been discussed with [Governor] Denis Pasler," she wrote.

She noted, that the chief medics "have not violated anything" formally, but she called her decision a matter of principle, because they infringed the medical ethics.

"I think that the chief medical officer cannot go abroad for a vacation during such a situation, when there are 800 to 1,000 employees behind you," she said.

Four coronavirus infection cases have been registered in the Orenburg Region, all of them are imported. Three new cases have been lab confirmed on Wednesday. According to Savinova, all patients are in fair condition.

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, 29 patients have recovered.