Russia Does Not Lock Down for the Deadlier Second Wave, Proving It Should Have Never Locked Down for the First
If the lockdown doesn't make sense now it didn't make sense in March
Russia reported record numbers of infections and deaths from the novel coronavirus on Thursday, the latest sign that the country is again struggling to contain an outbreak that Kremlin officials only recently portrayed as largely under control.
The state coronavirus task force recorded 17, 717 new infections and 366 deaths on Thursday alone, raising the national tally to more than 1.5 million cases and 27,301 fatalities from the global contagion.
Russia currently is fourth in the global rankings for coronavirus infections, behind Brazil, India and the United States.
But despite what a Kremlin spokesman described as “maximum pressure” on the nation’s health care system, President Vladimir Putin on Thursday assured Russians there would be no repeat of a spring lockdown that hobbled the economy and sent his approval ratings tumbling.
“We’re not planning to introduce total restrictive measures and order a so-called national lockdown where the economy and business essentially stop completely,” said Putin, speaking by video to an annual investment forum.
Putin’s decision to designate an extended “non-working holiday” in April was generally credited by health officials with helping contain the virus but widely panned by Russian citizens for failing to provide enough economic support to families and businesses.
The Russian leader maintains that the health of citizens remains the government’s main priority.
Moscow vs. regions
In Moscow — Russia’s largest city and the center of the country’s outbreak — Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has introduced limited measures aimed at containing a second wave of infections.
As of this month, masks and gloves are again mandatory on public transport [But the rule is in practice not enforced]. The city introduced required distance learning for high school students. Businesses, too, are now required to have one-third of their employees working remotely.
In comments on local television Thursday, Sobyanin argued those measures were beginning to pay off.
“This week we’re seeing figures that are lower than those from the week before. That tells us that there’s no more sharp escalation in Moscow. It’s stabilizing,” said Sobyanin.
Source: Voice of America
Introduction of a new lockdown due to the spread of the coronavirus in Russia is not being considered currently, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday.
“As far as I know, this is not being considered now, as far as I know, it is not discussed,” the Kremlin representative said.
He noted that the anti-coronavirus crisis center continues to function. He also added that “in regions they are also working on it, undertake appropriate measures.” As an example, the spokesman cited the actions of Moscow authorities. “As for the lockdown, currently it is not discussed,” he reiterated.
The spokesman who himself underwent treatment for the coronavirus infection in May expressed regrets over the rather rapid increase in infections in Russia. “This requires a certain mobilization of all systems, both at the federal and at the regional levels,” he stressed.
In response to the question under which conditions of the self-isolation regime and non-working weeks may be introduced, the Kremlin representative noted that “it’s not the Kremlin making the decision on non-working weeks, this is not the Kremlin’s prerogative, it is the state crisis center which refers to the expert opinion before coming up with any proposals as a result of profound analysis of the situation and the possible development scenario.”
According to the crisis center, the number of the coronavirus infections in Russia over the past 24 hours increased by 9,412, the number of infections for the first time since June 1 has surpassed 9,000. According to the latest statistics, over 34,508,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 1,028,000 deaths have been reported.
To date, 1,194,643 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 970,296 patients having recovered from the disease.
Russia’s latest data indicates 21,077 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.