Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin chairs a meeting, dedicated to the measures to stop the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Moscow, Russia March 27, 2020. Sputnik/Dmitry Astakhov/Pool via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVID Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin chairs a meeting, dedicated to the measures to stop the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Moscow, Russia March 27, 2020. Sputnik/Dmitry Astakhov/Pool via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVID

Russia weighs nationwide coronavirus lockdown after Moscow acts

Sun, Mar. 29, 2020
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin asked regional governors to consider introducing a partial lockdown to halt the spread of coronavirus after Russia on Monday recorded its biggest one-day rise in cases for the sixth day in a row.

Russia’s official nationwide tally of coronavirus cases rose by 302 on Monday, taking the total to 1,836. Nine people across Russia have died, the authorities say.

Authorities in Moscow have ordered residents to stay at home from Monday, their toughest move yet to slow the spread of the virus after the number of official cases in the Russian capital passed the 1,000 mark.

Mishustin said he thought the measures now needed to be rolled out nationwide.

“I ask the leaders of (Russia’s regions) to pay attention to (Moscow’s) experience and to work out the possibility of introducing such measures in their regions,” he said.

Some regions, like Russia’s Arctic region of Murmansk, which shares a border with Finland and Norway, have already acted, while most others in the world’s largest country by territory have yet to do so.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said 20% of residents were ignoring his order to self-isolate, but that he hoped an IT system would be operational by the end of the week that would allow authorities to control the movement of people.

Muscovites are only allowed to go out to buy food or medicines at their nearest shop, get urgent medical treatment, walk the dog, or take out the bins, under the new rules.

“This may now seem to some of you like some kind of game, a kind of Hollywood thriller. This is no game...,” Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Security Council, said in a video address.

“Unfortunately, what is happening now is a real threat to all of us and to all of human civilization,” said Medvedev, who was prime minister until earlier this year.

Russia has so far got off more lightly than many European countries, but some doctors have voiced scepticism about the accuracy of its figures given what they say has been the patchy nature and quality of testing, allegations that the authorities deny.

According to a survey by the Levada Center, only 16% of Russians fully trust official information about the coronavirus, while 24% said they did not trust it at all.
 
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