President Putin says peak of COVID-19 crisis is ahead

Putin asked the experts taking part in the meeting about how they assessed the current situation, the dynamics of the epidemic’s spread in Russia and about their forecast for the next three, seven, ten days and for a month, including the number of severe cases requiring urgent hospitalizations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday said Russia had managed to curb the coronavirus crisis but the peak of the outbreak still lay ahead.

The number of Russian confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 47,000 on Monday with a death toll of 405.

During a meeting discussing the sanitary and epidemiological situation in Russia, Putin said; "the situation is still challenging, and unfortunately, the epidemic spread continues and the number of citizens, who contract the coronavirus, is on the rise."

President Putin said the growth was seen "not only in Moscow, which was the first to face this threat, but also in other regions." "Due to preventive measures we still managed to slow down and contain this process, but unfortunately the infection, even its single cases, has been registered in all 85 regions."

Putin stressed that the scenario of the coronavirus spread had been predicted and Russia had prepared for it. The peak of the coronavirus spread in Russia is still ahead but it is necessary to smooth over the growth of new cases, Putin said.

"The peak of the disease spread is still ahead," Putin stressed, referring to expert opinions.

However, "it is necessary to do everything to smooth over this peak and cut the time of getting past the so-called plateau when the largest number of new infections is registered," the Russian president said.

"Work in all the directions is currently underway." "Also, an additional stock of specialized medical beds will be made available in all the regions by the end of this and at the beginning of next week," Putin specified.

The Russian president stressed that "in such preparations, all possible scenarios are being taken into account." He asked the experts taking part in the meeting about how they assessed the current situation, the dynamics of the epidemic’s spread in Russia and about their forecast for the next three, seven, ten days and for a month, including the number of severe cases requiring urgent hospitalizations.

He also asked the experts about the sufficiency of reserve hospital beds, medicines, lung ventilators and individual protection kits that were already being created.

"For medical workers, and literally each of them is now indispensable, enhanced reliable protection from the infection must be ensured," the Russian president said.

He asked the experts about how to ensure such protection.
Extra anti-coronavirus measures

Putin has asked for experts’ advice concerning extra anti-coronavirus measures. He stressed however that efforts must be taken to minimize the pandemic’s impacts on people’s jobs and incomes.

"Thanks to the non-working weeks, quarantine restrictions, self-isolations requirements and other measures that were taken, we have managed to win some time," he said. "We have managed to slow down the epidemic’s spread and adjust our healthcare system."

"Do you think the existing preventive measures, including in the capital city, are enough? What else should be done? Which other measures might be needed?" he asked those taking part in the meeting.

He stressed that the main concern of the state is people’s lives and health and pledged that the authorities will "rely on expert opinion to use maximally safe regime of operation of industries, individual companies and organizations."

"Of course, we will be acting carefully bearing in mind that it is impossible to halt the economy but it is necessary to minimize the epidemic’s negative impacts on employment and people’s incomes," Putin said.

Coronavirus vaccine

It is planned to book in advance the production capacity for making required volumes of a coronavirus vaccine when it will appear, according to Putin.

The head of state asked experts participating in the meeting to express opinions about the potential vaccine development timeframe.

"It is important for us to know this now, in order to book in advance, prepare production capacities, so that to quickly launch vaccine production in required volumes," Putin said.

The president noted that he understands well what a complex and thorough scientific research is carried in this field. "It is difficult, impossible to guess because the vaccine should not be merely received; its efficiency and safety should be proven. I understand in this regard the huge responsibility for the result vested in developers," Putin noted.

Treatment algorithms

Medics must have algorithms for treatment of the coronavirus infection developed in advance for all categories of patients, Putin noted.

"Everyone might face the infection and the disease, and, therefore, it is highly important that the medical workers have action algorithms developed in advance for provision of efficient aid to the people of all ages, to patients with accompanying, chronic diseases," the head of state said, adding that special attention must be paid to pregnant women and children.

"Special attention must be paid, of course, to pregnant women, future mothers, and, of course, children, including the newborns. I ask you to address these issues separately," the president told the meeting.

The meeting on Monday involved leading scientists and virologists, specialists in infectious diseases and heads of scientific and research centers, whose "professional evaluations and recommendations are important" for the authorities at all levels, Putin said. "So we will keep in touch with you in the future," the president told the experts.

Coronavirus pandemic

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 2,414,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 165,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 629,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.

To date, a total of 47,121 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 3,446 patients having recovered from the virus. Russia’s latest data indicates 405 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.
(With Tass)

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