Russia's Putin announces easing of coronavirus lockdown measures

Russia's Putin announces easing of coronavirus lockdown measures

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting via a video link outside Moscow
FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on the transport system development via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia May 7, 2020. Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would start gradually easing coronavirus-related lockdown measures from Tuesday (May 12), but that individual regions would need to tailor their approach to varying local conditions.

In a televised address on Monday, Putin also announced new welfare payments for families with children and new support measures for the Russian economy.

"Starting from tomorrow, May 12, the national period of non-working days will be over for all sectors of the economy," Putin said.

The president's announcement comes after Russia registered a record number of daily cases on Monday, with more than 11,000 people testing positive over the last 24 hours.

Health officials have recorded a total of 221,344 coronavirus infections and 2,009 deaths.

It has now overtaken Italy and the UK to have the third-highest number of cases in the world.

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Putin said that Russia had used the self-isolation period to prepare its healthcare system, increasing the amount of hospital beds and saving "many thousands of lives."

This "allows us to begin a gradual lifting of restrictions," he said.

"It is in the interest of all of us for the economy to return to normal quickly."

Construction, agriculture and energy should be restarted first, he added.

"The epidemic and associated restrictions have had a strong impact on the economy and hurt millions of our citizens," he said.

As people begin going back to work, mass events are still suspended and "strict sanitation demands" must be observed, Putin said.

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Source: Agencies/aj