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Coronavirus: Putin orders Russians to stay off work longer

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President Vladimir Putin has ordered most Russians to stay off work until the end of the month to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Speaking in a televised address to the nation on Thursday, Putin said he was extending the non-working policy he ordered earlier for this week to remain in force throughout April.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

He said there are exceptions for essential industries will keep operating, and grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open.

Putin said that it would be up to the regional authorities to decide which sectors should keep working in their areas.

He said Russia's virus-prevention strategies have bought time and helped slow down the outbreak but also warned that cases haven't yet peaked.

Putin said that along with protecting the public's health, it's also important to protect people's incomes and prevent a spike in unemployment.