Putin warns Russia’s virus outbreak could get worse
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said the country’s coronavirus outbreak had stabilised but warned the situation remained difficult and could easily deteriorate.
Russia has registered the fourth-highest number of infections in the world and health officials on Wednesday reported a total of 828,990 cases and 13,673 fatalities.
Officials eased most virus restrictions in June ahead of a large military parade in Moscow and a nationwide vote on constitutional reforms that could extend Putin’s rule.
“The number of coronavirus infections in Russia gradually decreased in June and July,” Putin said during a video conference with officials, adding that the number of new cases had halved since the peak in May.
Yet Putin cautioned that, “the situation remains difficult — it could swing in any direction”.
The president called on Russians to observe the rules in place to prevent the spread of the virus to avoid any need to “re-impose restrictions, especially large-scale ones”.
It was important that “kindergartens, colleges, and organisations can work safely, in the regular manner to which people are accustomed”, he added.
Russia shuttered businesses and imposed a strict lockdown in March to slow the outbreak which centred around Moscow where around half the cases were reported.
Health officials on Wednesday reported 5,475 new cases in the country.
A government tally during the peak of the epidemic in May reported more than 11,000 new cases.
Only India, Brazil and the worst-hit country, the United States, have recorded higher total numbers of infections than Russia.
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