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China Daily Global / 2020-11 / 20 / Page006

Moscow confident on coping with surge

By REN QI in Moscow | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-11-20 00:00

Moscow health officials have expressed confidence in their ability to cope with a rise in coronavirus infections, in a challenge that may be compounded by the arrival of wintry weather in the Russian capital.

"We are ready for any development in the pandemic," said Valery Vechorko, the chief medical officer of Moscow's Filatov Hospital. "Regarding the evaluation of the situation as a whole, it is still too early to talk about any stabilization and, as we know, restrictive measures are in effect from Nov 13 through January 15.

"It is possible to presume that, if our citizens won't observe the measures we recommend, we may see an increase in incidence during winter holidays." He stressed the importance of people wearing masks and gloves and maintaining social distancing.

On Thursday, Russia's coronavirus crisis center reported 23,610 new cases with 463 deaths. The total number of infections surpassed 2 million in Russia, which has the fifth most cases in the world.

"Unfortunately, our situation is not a simple one," Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a video conference with Cabinet members on Wednesday, when he assigned Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova to provide an update on the pandemic.

Particular attention

"As we agreed earlier, we will pay particular attention to the coronavirus situation in Russia."

In the conference, Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Kolychev said a second wave of the coronavirus hitting the country has not depressed businesses activity too much.

Although the Kremlin sees no need for new business support measures, authorities have adjusted to the current environment in their policies, Kolychev said.

"We believe that the fact that economic authorities have adjusted to unexpected developments both in monetary policy and in budget policy has played a certain role and is relatively meaningful," he said.

On Wednesday, an oxygen supply line exploded at Kommunarka Hospital, Moscow's main coronavirus treatment center.

A video posted on social media showed clouds of white steam rising from the hospital, which is treating 733 coronavirus patients. The RBC news website quoted eyewitnesses as saying that they saw the smoke following a loud bang.

In a statement shortly after the explosion, the Moscow Health Department said that an oxygen line was depressurized during installation at a temporary ward that is under construction. The department added that there is no threat to patients or hospital staff.

The Mash Telegram channel reported, without citing sources, that one hospital employee was injured but is in a satisfactory condition. It added that 83 patients from three temporary hospital buildings have been evacuated to the main hospital building. The state-run Tass news agency cited an unnamed source as saying that the hospital's operations were not disrupted by the explosion.


Moscow medical workers rest during their shift on Tuesday in a temporary hospital for COVID-19 patients set up in an exhibition center. MAXIM SHEMETOV/REUTERS



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