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Coronavirus spread coefficient in Russia remains lower than 1, official says

It should not exceed 1 for shifting to the first phase of easing restrictions in a Russian region

MOSCOW, May 29. /TASS/. The novel coronavirus spread coefficient in Russia remains lower than 1, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said during a Russian government briefing on Friday. She noted that the decreased spread of the disease depends on the disciplined behavior of Russians.

"Today is May 29, and we see that the infection spread coefficient in Russia is below 1," she said.

The official noted that the further decrease in new cases would depend on the behavior of Russian citizens. According to TASS estimates, the average spread coefficient in Russia has not surpassed 1 for 16 days. In Moscow, this figure has remained below 1 since May 11. The coefficient is lower than 1 in six out of ten Russian regions with the highest number of COVID-19 cases.

The spread coefficient is calculated using the formula provided by the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being in its recommendations for regions on easing lockdown measures imposed due to the coronavirus spread. It should not exceed 1 for shifting to the first phase of easing restrictions in a Russian region. The coefficient shows how many people on average get the coronavirus infection from one infected person prior to their isolation, the watchdog explained.

According to the recommendations, Russian regions where this figure equals or is below 1 can begin the first stage of lifting the restrictions if they have enough hospital beds reserved for coronavirus patients and conduct enough tests for the virus. If the coefficient is lower than 0.8, Russian regions can move on to the second stage of lifting the restrictions, if it is lower than 0.5, they can begin the third stage.

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 5,800,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 350,000 deaths have been reported.

To date, a total of 387,623 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 159,257 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 4,374 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.