MOSCOW, RUSSIA – APRIL 3, 2020: Car attendants in face masks outside a Sapsan high-speed train at Leningradsky railway station, a home isolation order declared for Moscow residents of all ages to restrict movement within the city and reduce the risk of contagion; a period off work with full pay has been extended until April 30 nationwide as part of preventive measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 infection. Vladimir Gerdo/TASS Ðîññèÿ. Ìîñêâà. Ïðîâîäíèöû ó ïîåçäà “Ñàïñàí” íà Ëåíèíãðàäñêîì âîêçàëå. ÐÆÄ ñ 7 àïðåëÿ èç-çà ñíèæåíèÿ ïàññàæèðîïîòîêà íà ôîíå ïàíäåìèè êîðîíàâèðóñà âðåìåííî îòìåíÿò 53 ïîåçäà äàëüíåãî ñëåäîâàíèÿ, ñîêðàòÿò ïåðèîäè÷íîñòü êóðñèðîâàíèÿ 37 ïîåçäîâ ôîðìèðîâàíèÿ Ôåäåðàëüíîé ïàññàæèðñêîé êîìïàíèè, à òàêæå îòìåíÿò òðè ïàðû âûñîêîñêîðîñòíûõ ïîåçäîâ “Ñàïñàí” èç Ìîñêâû â Ñàíêò-Ïåòåðáóðã è îáðàòíî. Ïåðèîä ñ 28 ìàðòà ïî 30 àïðåëÿ 2020 ãîäà îáúÿâëåí â Ðîññèè íåðàáî÷èì ñ öåëüþ ïðåäîòâðàùåíèÿ ðàñïðîñòðàíåíèÿ êîðîíàâèðóñíîé èíôåêöèè. Âëàäèìèð Ãåðäî/ÒÀÑÑ

NOVO-OGARYOVO, April 8. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to keep cargo and transport service between regions running, adding that shutting it down might have destructive consequences.

“We cannot stop the economy, close transport, cargo and passenger service between regions, shut down companies en masse, regardless of the actual situation, even if there are just several infection cases in the entire region. We must understand what damage, what destructive consequences this might cause,” the president said during a video link-up with the heads of regions on measures to fight the coronavirus Wednesday.

The head of state noted that even Moscow, with its population density and concentration of transport flows — and, therefore, bigger risk of infection spread — does not implement blanket shutdown of companies.

“Many Moscow companies continue to work or have switched to remote mode,” the president said.

Vladimir Putin suggested setting higher insurance guarantees for healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus. “It will be proper to make one more decision, that is, to set higher insurance guarantees for them at the expense of the federal budget, just as it is done for personnel of the Russian Armed Forces,” Putin said.

The president also proposed surcharges to salaries for work with patients having the novel coronavirus. “I consider necessary to implement one more measure: to set a special federal payment for three months, starting from April, for specialists working directly with coronavirus patients and risking their life every minute,” the head of state said.

“Such extra payment for doctors directly working with patients having the coronavirus infection will be 80,000 rubles ($1,060), for middle-grade medical staff, medical assistants and nurses — 50,000 rubles ($660), and for junior medical staff — 25,000 rubles ($330) per month,” the president said. Extra payments will also be made for ambulance staff, he added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the government to make repayment holidays on consumer and mortgage loans available to a larger number of Russians.

“In March, I instructed [the cabinet] to ensure an option of repayment holiday on consumer and mortgage loans for citizens. I am asking the government to return to this issue and consider expanding this support measure so that it becomes available to a larger number of people,” the head of state informed.

The coronavirus crisis may lead to even more substantial losses for businesses, the Russian president said, adding that it is necessary to soften the blow.

“It is necessary to mitigate the downturn, soften the blow for businesses, whose losses are already rather substantial and may be even worse,” he stated.

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested an annual installment plan of tax payments for companies in respect of taxes deferred because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will restructure such debts. They can be repaid smoothly, monthly, in equal installments during at least one year after expiry of the deferral,” Putin said.

The state will first of all help companies that keep employment, Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged. “I consider it fair to help first of all those companies that keep employment,” he said.

Vladimir Putin has called on Russian governors to avoid using the same approach to combating the novel coronavirus. “I have given an expanded mandate to heads of regions because I believe that it is ineffective and even harmful to use some united approach,” the Russian leader explained. 

Putin noted that regional heads should act depending on the general situation in each settlement, enterprise and each region, approving appropriate and thought-out measures to protect citizens’ health and safety. The president also recalled that in accordance with his decree, all regions must prepare a plan for optimal prophylactic measures depending on the risk of the infection spreading.

Putin said that he would like to hear the details regarding those plans during the video conference.

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 1,400,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 82,000 deaths have been reported. That said, over 300,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.

To date, a total of 8,672 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 580 patients having recovered from the virus. Moscow accounts for the majority of cases (5,841). The country’s latest data indicates 63 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.

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