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COVID-19 restriction measures helped save lives, says Moscow mayor

He added that Moscow used a set of high-tech measures: digital passes, video cameras, face recognition, and the Social Monitoring app

MOSCOW, July 16. /TASS/. The government of Moscow considers the measures taken in the city to combat the spread of coronavirus a necessary decision that helped save the lives of its residents, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Thursday in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda radio.

"We are talking about tens of thousands lives saved, this is a high price. This is worth introducing such strict measures, this was a forced decision. The measures were rather high-tech from an international perspective," the mayor noted.

He added that Moscow used a set of high-tech measures: digital passes, video cameras, face recognition, and the Social Monitoring app.

Sobyanin said that the app had been developed due to the fact that about 800,000 citizens came to Russia at the start of the pandemic from Europe, the US and China, where the virus had already spread widely. Besides, in March and early April, about 300,000 people from other countries arrived to Moscow.

"We had to control this many people somehow so that they would not infect all the city’s residents. <…> You don’t like all the measures? There are observation facilities and infectious diseases hospitals. The Social Monitoring app can replace the two weeks spent in hospital. What is Social Monitoring? Taking several selfies over the course of the day," the mayor stated.

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 13,717,900 people have been infected worldwide and more than 587,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 8,172,400 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.

To date, 752,797 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 531,692 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 11,937 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.