Covid-19: Too early to speak about reducing lockdown period - Kremlin says

Putin gets tested for COVID-19 as often as necessary, Kremlin says

Authorities in Moscow has said it is too early to speak about reducing the period of the coronavirus lockdown in Russia

According to Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, when asked of a decision on reducing the non-working period would be made next week, he said that "it would be too early to say that." "Not enough time has passed to clarify the trend emerging from the move to make people minimize their social contacts," he said.

Peskov pointed out that President Vladimir Putin’s April 7 meeting with infectious disease experts "was not aimed at making a decision."

"A conversation was held yesterday in order to figure out what medical workers recommend and what measures can be taken to prevent the spread of the infection, as well as to discuss potential trends," the presidential spokesman explained. According to him, most experts believe that imposing a lockdown was the only right thing to do. The lockdown, in Peskov’s words, is important for breaking the virus chain.

"It is yet to be decided how to pull out [of the lockdown], depending on the situation," Peskov said. He added that experts taking part in the meeting had agreed that the effect of the lockdown would become clear in the second half of next week.

"We can also take other countries’ experience into consideration - including European and Asian countries and the United States - and make decisions based on that," Peskov concluded.

He had on Tuesday told reporter that Russian President Vladimir Putin gets tested for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as often as necessary. "[He gets tested] as often as his doctor sees fit," the spokesman said, answering a corresponding question.

Peskov noted that he is not aware of the procedure of Putin’s testing. "I do not deal with the matters of the president’s medical care," he added.

Peskov noted that Putin’s decision to hold a meeting with Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yuri Trutnev and Minister for the Development of the Far East and Arctic Alexander Kozlov at the Kremlin is not a violation of the self-isolation regime.

"Yes, he [Putin] did come to the Kremlin yesterday," Peskov said, noting that the president "does not visit public places and does not meet a large amount of people." "All precautionary measures are being taken," Peskov assured, adding that if the president meets with people face to face, every participant of the meeting gets tested for COVID-19 beforehand.

The reporters pointed out that Putin still chooses to shake hands with the officials he meets. "The president shakes hands with people who have been carefully checked. So in this case, the president has the right to choose the manner of greeting that he is used to and that he finds appropriate," the spokesman explained.

The number of novel coronavirus cases in Russia has risen by 1,175 over the past day, reaching 8,672 in 81 regions, the anti-coronavirus crisis center told reporters on Wednesday.

The center has reported 580 recoveries and 63 deaths.

"Some 8,672 (+15.7%) cases of the coronavirus infection have been registered in Russia today. Over the past day, 86 people have been discharged [from hospitals] after recovering. A total of 580 people have recovered to date. Over the past day, five patients have died. The total death toll in Russia is 63," the center said.

The number of coronavirus cases in Moscow has grown by 660 to 5,841. Other new cases have been recorded in 55 regions. Among them are the Moscow Region (95), St. Petersburg (34), the Leningrad Region (32), the Mari El Republic (27), the Murmansk Region (25), the Krasnodar Region (24), the Nizhny Novgorod Region (24), the Lipetsk Region (18), the Komi Republic (18) and the Ingushetia Republic (18).

Over the past day, 48 people have been discharged from hospitals in Moscow, six in the Krasnodar Region, five in the Nizhny Novgorod, three in the Sverdlovsk Region, the Moscow Region, the Chechen Republic and the Stavropol Region, and two in the Tatarstan Republic, the Kalmykia Republic and Sevastopol.Five people have died of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours in the Moscow Region (2), the North Ossetia Republic (1), the Irkutsk Region (1) and the Khabarovsk Region (1).

Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.

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