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Putin prolongs non-working days in Russia till May 11

The coronavirus situation in Russia remains very tense and the country has not passed its peak yet, according to the president 

MOSCOW, April 28. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ruled to prolong non-working days introduced due to coronavirus till May 11 nationwide at a video conference on ways of resistance to the spread of the coronavirus in regions.

The coronavirus situation in Russia remains very tense and the country has not passed its peak yet, Vladimir Putin said.

"The daily number of new cases of the disease has relatively stabilized. But this should not 'soothe' us since the situation remains very tense. Specialists and scientists say that the peak has not passed yet," the Russian president stressed.

The risks of catching infection of the novel coronavirus in Russia are ‘reaching their climax,’ he elaborated. "We are now probably faced with the most rigorous stage of the fight against this epidemiology," Putin went on. "Risks of catching the infection are reaching their climax. The danger and the lethal threat of the virus persist and it goes for everyone."

The positive thing is that Russia has managed to slow down the pace of the novel coronavirus spread in the country, Vladimir Putin commented. "The most important issue that I would like to point out summing up the results of the recent weeks is that we have managed to slow down the spread of the epidemic," Putin said. "This is the result of our common work, the responsibility of millions of citizens of our country, who have followed recommendations of doctors and experts, taking care of their own health and of the health of others."

But still strict preventive measures must be observed, the president underscored. 

He recalled that two sets of long holidays were due at the beginning of May, with three working days — May 6, 7 and 8 — sandwiched between them. Putin said that "even in an ordinary situation many would prefer to stay off work [on May 6, 7 and 8 — TASS], to take paid leaves, and now there are still fewer reasons to take risks."

"I believe it will be correct to declare these three days as non-working ones. Normal wages are to be preserved. The period of off-work days will last till May 11 inclusively. Let me draw your attention to the fact that the strict preventive measures adopted in regions must be enforced," Putin said.

Lifting of restrictions 

The lifting of restrictions after the country passes the peak of the coronavirus epidemic will not happen simultaneously across the country, President Vladimir Putin stated.

According to him, even when the country passes the peak of the epidemic, the situation may remain tense in some regions, "which means that we cannot discuss any simultaneous lifting of restrictions, this is simply inadmissible," the president said. "We must brace ourselves for having a difficult path ahead, on which all risks must be foreseen," he stressed.

In view of this, the president has instructed Russian officials to prepare step-by-step plans on lifting the restrictive measures introduced to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus starting May 12. These plans must be ready by May 5.

"I instruct the government and the Russian Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare to prepare recommendations in tandem with the working group of the State Council, that is, criteria and parameters for step-by-step lifting of the restrictive measures starting May 12. This must be done within a week, that is, by May 5," Putin stated.

He stressed that the measures must be taken "depending on the current epidemiological situation and its stable predictions." The president noted that Russian regions must receive those recommendations in advance to prepare their course of action after May 11. 

Meanwhile some regions might face tougher restrictions if the situation requires, Vladimir Putin warned. He stated that the regional authorities must take into account all risks to prevent a relapse.

Effect of pre-emptive measures

As he opened the video conference, Putin said that the country managed to brace itself up for the epidemic. The production of lung ventilators grew several-fold in just one month and measures were taken to increase the number of hospital beds available for the coronavirus patients. It is essential to ensure the regions be 100% ready to struggle for every human life.

He added though that the world experience indicated that the measures adopted so far might not be enough even in the short term. The Health Ministry was instructed to monitor the situation in each region on a daily basis.

To date, a total of 93,558 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 8,456 patients having recovered from the virus. Russia’s latest data indicates 867 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.

In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 by the WHO — have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 3,000,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 211,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 923,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.