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Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a video conference meeting on the COVID-19 cornavirus situation in Russia, at Novo-Ogaryovo residence. Alexei Druzhinin/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

Non-working days in Russia will end on May 12, but it will take significant time to end restrictions in the regions, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.

“Starting from tomorrow, on May 12, a single period of non-working days for the entire country and all economic sectors will end,” Putin said, noting that the fight against the pandemic would continue and any backsliding should be thwarted.

It will take certain time to end the restrictions and this process won’t be quick, Putin said. The president also stressed that starting from May 12 at all stages until the epidemic is fully stopped all general sanitary requirements as well as additional preventive measures in the regions should remain in place.

The ban on holding mass events in Russia due to the coronavirus pandemic will continue.

“Of course, across the country, any mass events are out of the question,” Putin said.

Putin emphasized that everyone needs to strictly observe sanitary rules – this applies to the work of enterprises, shops, transport, and the service sector. “The increased safety regime should be maintained for people over 65, as well as for those who suffer from chronic diseases,” the president added.

Lifting restrictive measures amid the coronavirus pandemic cannot be instantaneous, it should be carried out carefully, step by step, the Russian President announced.

He noted that the measures taken earlier allow to move on to the next stage of the fight against the pandemic – to “begin a phased exit from restriction regime.” “This period has a fundamental peculiarity – first of all, such exit cannot be simultaneous, it is necessary to do it carefully, step by step,” Putin said.

According to him, lifting or softening the restrictions “must take place under strict observance of all conditions and sanitary requirements that guarantee safety of people.”.

Russia’s measures to combat coronavirus have allowed to save thousands of lives, Putin said. “Thanks to the measures carried out earlier many thousands of lives have been saved and certainly, doctors and nurses had a decisive role here,” he said.