Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday prolonged until April 30 a non-working period across the country to try and stem the coronavirus outbreak.
Russia, which has reported 3,548 cases and 30 deaths, has already imposed a partial lockdown on many regions, including Moscow, its capital of more than 12.5 million people.
Putin delivered a televised speech to the nation on Thursday, saying the partial lockdown and this week’s non-working period had helped slow the contagion, but that the latter measure needed to be extended.
He said it could be lifted earlier than April 30 if the situation improved.
He thanked doctors, volunteers and ordinary Russians for their efforts to battle and contain COVID-19, but stressed that Russia isn’t in the clear yet.
“Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel are working hard, and they do not have it easy now. They are our frontline defenders, protecting us in hospitals and infectious wards from the advancing pandemic. They are treating and saving people.”
Earlier on Wednesday last week Putin gave Russians this week off, although many continued to work remotely.
Days after Putin announced the measure, Moscow ordered the capital’s residents to stay at home, prompting dozens of Russian regions to follow suit.
Residents in Moscow can leave their homes only to buy food or medicine nearby, get urgent medical treatment, walk the dog or take out the rubbish.
Source: Reuters and Sputnik