NOVO-OGARYOVO, May 14. /TASS/. The domestic coronavirus situation is changing, allowing the country to again focus on other issues of the current and long-term agenda of its development, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a meeting devoted to genetic technologies on Thursday.
The Russian leader stressed that over the past weeks the authorities had focused all efforts mainly on combating the coronavirus pandemic and preparing urgent measures in order to support citizens and national economy.
"We will maintain this effort in the future. But <...> the situation is changing and this gives us a chance to again focus on the issues of our current and long-term agenda," Putin emphasized.
According to Putin, Russia has never diluted its focus on these issues. "But now, at the stage of returning to normal and usual life, it’s vital to ensure a dynamic and effective solution to strategic tasks, our large-scale projects with a long-term agenda, and quickly step up the pace here," the president underscored, noting that the development of genetic technologies was one of these priorities.
The president has set the task of carrying out genetic research that will help prevent and treat serious illnesses before Russian scientists. "Russia must have a whole range of developments that will help to prevent and treat serious illnesses, to prolong life expectancy, to improve the environment, to clear the water, land and air from pollution and to use ecologically clean biological fuel," the Russian leader stated.
"We are talking about various spheres — from medicine and agriculture to industry and energy, where genetic technologies open up colossal possibilities," Putin said. "We must use them in our interest, in the interest of our citizens, and form and boost our own scientific and technological potential," the president said.
"Right now, genetic research helps pave the path towards creating test systems, vaccines and medicine, including those against the coronavirus," Putin highlighted. He thanked genetic researchers for their contribution to the fight against this threat.
Putin recalled that in April 2019 Russia began to implement a program for the development of genetic research. He proposed discussing the year’s performance and further steps, including those to mitigate the current challenge, during the session.
To date, a total of 252,245 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 53,530 patients having recovered from the virus. Russia’s latest data indicates 2,305 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.
Putin earlier announced that Russia’s "non-working" period would come to an end on May 12, allowing the authorities to start easing restrictions imposed in late March.
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 4,442,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 298,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 1,668,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.