Moscow – Less than a month ago, Russian state-controlled media showed President Vladimir Putin how the country had successfully contained the newand keep the situation “under control”.
Russia then had only a few dozen officially reported cases. A week later, Russia even sent medical aid planes to struggling Italy, andand Serbia.
But Russia has now seen an increase in COVID-19 infections, and Putin’s tone has become much less optimistic.
“We are seeing that the situation is changing every day and unfortunately not for the better,” he said on Monday in a videoconference with senior health care officials. “The number of sick people increases with the number of severe cases. “
He admitted that Russia had not yet reached the peak of its epidemic, not even in Moscow, which was hit hard, where two-thirds of the cases were diagnosed.
The country’s virus task force on Tuesday reported a total of 21,102 infections and warned that Moscow will soon face a shortage of hospital beds.
The city has increasingly reorganized its hospitals to increase the number of beds for coronavirus patients, and a new hospital is under construction, but it is unclear if this will be enough.
Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova said last week that Moscow hospitals and ambulances are already out of breath. Videos and photos appeared on social media last week showing lines of dozens of ambulances waiting hours outside of hospitals. The video was even taken up by state media.
“In six years I have not seen anything like it,” a paramedic wrote in a Facebook article on Friday, taking photos of a long queue near the hospital outside Moscow.
The task force released a statement this week warning that despite the growing number of state, federal and private clinics joining the effort, there could be a shortage of hospital beds in the next two to three weeks. in the capital.
In interviews with Russian media, doctors and nurses across the country have complained, often anonymously, about the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and a lack of guidance.
Due to the growing epidemic, Moscow and the surrounding region will introduce a digital permit system from Wednesday, aimed at limiting residents’ movement and enforcing foreclosure.
Residents must now apply for a permit for all journeys by public or personal transport. The system has been criticized by some opposition activists as another way for the government to violate the right to privacy. Moscow’s tracking policies have often been compared to those of China, as city law enforcement has used facial recognition technology and a large network of cameras to track people’s movements and catch offenders. quarantine.
Meanwhile, China has said that nearly half of the new COVID-19 cases detected in that country are now crossing the border into Russia – mostly Chinese nationals returning home.
Chinese cities along the border with Russia have tightened border controls and imposed stricter quarantine measures amid fears of a possible second wave of viruses in the country.