Pandemic would be gone sooner or later, President Putin calls for enduring self-isolation to turn the tide in struggle against COVID-19

Stresses need to increase resources at Russian hospitals

Says Russia has means to solve problems in any coronavirus scenario

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called upon Russian citizens to endure self-isolation and the burden of problems despite the existing fatigue in order to turn the tide in the struggle against the coronavirus.

Russian leader also stressed the need for an increase in resources for Russian hospitals, adding that the country has enough means to solve problems in any cornavirus scenarios.

Putin has stressed the importance of increasing resources at Russian hospitals to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"I will start with an urgent task for all regions. Hospitals must be on high alert, their resources and capabilities must be expanded. Right now, this is definitely a priority," the Russian leader said during the video conference with Russian regional heads.

He reminded that the corresponding federal aid had been allocated for this purpose. "Namely, over 33 bln rubles (about $438 mln - TASS) have been allocated to place additional specialized beds at hospitals and infectious wards." "Moreover, 13 bln rubles (about $172.5 mln - TASS) have been allocated for the purchase of medical equipment, including artificial ventilation equipment, ambulances and resuscitation ambulances that will be sent to the regions starting April," the president noted.

"Let’s hope that the healthcare resources we are creating and the additional capacities will not be fully necessary. However, we must be ready to fight for the life of each person in every region," Putin stressed.

On enduring self-isolation, he said on Wednesday, during a distance conference with the heads of Russia’s regions: "I would like to address all citizens of Russia, I do understand that certain fatigue and a serious burden of financial, routine and other problems has been accumulated and your customary lifestyle has been upset." He agreed that most people found it boring and almost unbearable to stay locked down round the clock.

"But there is no other choice. Self-isolation and the related strain must be endured by all means. Turning the tide in the struggle against the infection depends on our discipline and responsibility. We are obliged to achieve this."

He asked everybody to remember that the pandemic would be gone sooner or later, just as any other misfortune.

"Our country has more than once been through serious tests, including nomadic invasions that were tearing it apart," Putin said. "Russia always managed. It will certainly cope with this onslaught of the coronavirus, too. Together we shall overcome."

He pointed out it was very precious that every passing day confirmed the strength and integrity of Russian society. In particular, he praised medical doctors and nurses, who were acting "with self-sacrifice, as one team."

"Possibly for the first time in decades we have realized so sharply how important and absolutely crucial their work is," Putin said. He mentioned volunteers, whose number was growing steadily, and also athletes, actors and journalists, who have joined the effort to resist the infection. The president stressed that millions of people were helping their neighbors, taking care of their parents and other members of their families and displayed "great civic responsibility at this difficult moment."

"These are not bombastic, pathetic words, but our reality. The best qualities of each of us are essential and in great demand," Putin said.

Russia has the means to solve problems in any of the possible scenarios for the development of the coronavirus pandemic, but it will not be possible to completely avoid losses, although they can be minimized, Putin said.

"We will work confidently and professionally. I would like to emphasize, we have everything for this - a stable macroeconomic situation, minimal state debt, a solid safety net in the form of reserves accumulated over previous years, we have means to solve problems in any of the possible scenarios. 

Finally, we have experience in overcoming crises from past years," he said.

"It is clear that certain losses cannot be avoided, but we are able to minimize them and create conditions for future development," Putin added.

According to him, support will be given to "economic sectors affected by the crisis, and, the labor market, and the healthcare system". "We will do everything to help people who need help today," Putin said.

He emphasized that "support measures in all these areas should be prepared in a timely manner and should be implemented taking into account high dynamics of the situation." "You cannot postpone such decisions, you cannot delay them. I ask both the Russian government and the leaders of the Russian regions to be guided by such approach," Putin added.

President Putin noted that, based on the experience of countries fighting the coronavirus infection, "the first four to five weeks from the start of the epidemic are the most difficult". "This means that the next two to three weeks will be decisive for the development of our situation. This is the period when we will need maximum concentration of all resources, the most stringent implementation of doctors’ recommendations, those preventive measures that are being introduced in every region today," he said.

Putin added that today it is impossible to say with full certainty how the situation will develop in the healthcare sector and in the economy both in Russia and in the world. "However, we can most likely predict, anticipate possible options for the development of the situation, which means we can and must develop our own action plan in advance for each of these scenarios, and then these measures will be timely and effective,"he stressed.


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