US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Russia overtook China in the number of coronavirus infected. Yesterday, this figure rose to 93,558 after another 6411 cases of infection were recorded in the last day. Russia with a population of 144 million people knew that it would soon bypass the neighboring country and become the eighth country in the world. In fact, the number of cases has doubled in the past seven days.
The measures taken in Moscow – self-isolation and a pass system to control the movement of citizens – will be extended to another 21 regions. The “non-working” period announced throughout the country at the beginning of the month was extended until May 11. Health authorities believe that in terms of incidence, Russian provinces are two to three weeks behind the capital.
Moscow asks the following question: where is Putin? He is not in the Kremlin, where he stopped going to work every day back in 2013, because his motorcade caused traffic jams. He is not in the isolated bunker, as reported by the president’s sources, to dispel the rumors. The president remains in his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo: in the fortified palace built in the 19th century, where a copy of his official office is located.
The President minimized personal meetings. Putin holds meetings mainly online: it is worth noting that for a person who does not use a mobile phone and email, his ease when working in an online format is amazing. So, in front of a huge screen, he holds meetings with governors, municipal councilors, doctors and other officials responsible for the fight against coronavirus.
Their “cyber meetings” are widely broadcast on Russian television channels. At some point, the media began to actively distribute videos in which Putin shakes hands with regional officials, and there is reason to believe that these videos were shot in advance, as the governors captured on them were busy with other things – the videos could be specially prepared by the Kremlin for in order to preserve the image of the president forever in power,
Putin likes the people to see him. However, after one of the officials, who was part of the president’s entourage, became infected with the coronavirus during a trip to Europe, security rules had to be tightened. The president found himself near the sick several times. On March 24, he was on an official visit to a Moscow hospital in Kommunarka, where he met with her head physician Denis Protsenko, who several days later announced that he was infected with COVID-19. Putin is 67 years old, and he is at risk. In fact, even before the self-isolation regime was announced in the capital, Muscovites of his age were ordered to stay at home.
The Kremlin reports that it’s “now impossible” to meet with Putin “without the presence of negative analyzes.” Some employees of the Presidential Administration test several times a week. Two Communist Party deputies were hospitalized with coronavirus. One of the members of the Duma was also sent to quarantine after he did not notify the authorities of his arrival from Europe. The alleged “confessor” of the president, father Tikhon Shevkunov, was forced to make an open statement to refute rumors about his infection with coronavirus. The political elite also experiences fear.
Half of the coronavirus-infected Russians are in Moscow, which continues to tighten control. Moscow Mayor’s Office announced that it will issue fines to people who do not maintain a safe distance of one and a half meters when traveling by public transport. Taxi drivers are already strictly following the new instructions, and to confirm the trip for each passenger, they require a personal code.
Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the pandemic in Russia has not yet reached its peak, urging the population to be ready “for any scenario.” According to information on April 19, the number of cases doubled in five days, since then the number of cases per day began to fluctuate around 2000. If the situation stabilizes, this will be the first “victory” of Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, who became Putin’s “marshal” in the war against pandemics.
Sobyanin leads the Russian government’s task force on the fight against coronavirus: while Putin prefers to inform citizens about the help allocated from the state budget, Sobyanin always reports bad news. Last week, he said that at current rates of incidence of 20 to 30 days in hospitals in the Russian regions there may be a shortage of beds. However, Putin’s popularity is declining. The confidence rating of Russians fell to the lowest rate in 14 years, according to a VTsIOM survey. When asked which policy you trust, only 28% of Russians answered: Putin.
According to Moscow City Hall, more than 40% of the Moscow healthcare system are involved in the fight against coronavirus. Anastasia Vasilieva, leader of the Alliance of Doctors trade union, believes that the situation is much worse: “Most hospitals are crowded, in poor regions the situation is especially alarming because they have much fewer resources.”
Russia was one of the first countries to ban entry for Chinese citizens. Now “China teaches us how to overcome the coronavirus. This is exactly what I want in Spain and Russia, ”said Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of the United Russia government party. Probably one of the factors that spread the virus in Russia was the return of almost a million Russians from abroad. The virus has spread to such an extent that now China has closed the border with Russia and imposed quarantine for those arriving in Harbin after a jump in the number of cases was noticed in the city.
According to the state agency Rospotrebnadzor, 139 thousand tests for coronavirus are performed daily in Russia. The total number of tests conducted in Russia since the beginning of the epidemic now exceeds three million. Last month, activists, health workers, and even the authorities themselves did not trust official data, which showed that there was no epidemic in Russia.
“However, with regard to Moscow, although neither I nor my colleagues have access to data from private testing centers, the data on cases of infection that we identify every day began to coincide with the data of officials,” explained an employee of one of the nine laboratories, in which coronavirus is detected.
In the near future, the Kremlin faces two threats: the collapse of the global oil market and the coronavirus epidemic in Russia. On Monday, a spokesman for the Russian president said the country could peak in coronavirus infection in mid-May. According to Dmitry Peskov, from an epidemiological point of view, the situation will improve in June if the number of cases stabilizes in May.
In the medium term, the Kremlin expects two events: a deferred referendum on constitutional reform that will allow Putin to lead the country until 2036, and parliamentary elections next year. In recent years, Russian incomes have fallen; By 2021, Russia will try to avoid the collapse of the healthcare system and increase unemployment in large cities. Tough measures have already been taken in the country, which Putin wanted to avoid, namely the isolation of certain regions:
St. Petersburg, the second region most affected by the pandemic in Russia, has not yet reached the peak of the spread of infection, “however, patients are already filling the corridors of hospitals,” Vasilyeva said.
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