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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

Extraordinary measures are required to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a video conference between members of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on Tuesday.

“We really do need extraordinary measures to halt the spread of the infection,” the president said.

Putin stressed that the pandemic had affected all spheres of life negatively nearly in the entire world. “The mobility of the population has gone down, the sale of goods and services has been compromised, the global financial and commodity markets are subject to volatility. This is very important to us,” he noted, adding that the pressure on the healthcare system rises considerably.

Putin said that the COVID-19 epidemic in Russia had not peaked yet.

“According to experts the epidemic in Russia has not peaked yet,” Putin said. “We keep a close watch on the sanitary and epidemiological situation and take the necessary preventive and other measures to restrict the spread of the infection,” Putin said. Most Russian regions had introduced lockdown or quarantine rules in order to reduce the epidemic rates, he recalled, adding that paid non-working days had been introduced across the nation till April 30.

Putin noted active measures being taken by the government’s anti-coronavirus coordination council and the State Council’s anti-epidemic center and working group.

“The scale of diagnostics and testing for exposing the sick and infected is growing. Considerable financial resources are being spent to deploy infection units at hospitals and to purchase medical equipment,” he said. Putin recalled the decision to introduce special bonuses for the medical personnel who “risk their lives and health to provide assistance to the sick and properly cope with their professional duty.”

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 1,900,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 119,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 453,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.

To date, a total of 21,102 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 1,694 patients having recovered from the virus. Russia’s latest data indicates 170 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.

Source: TASS, April 14, 2020