President Vladimir Putin said on Monday Russia might need to call in the army to help tackle the coronavirus crisis and warned the contagion was getting worse after the number of confirmed cases rose by a record daily amount.
Russia reported 2,558 new cases on Monday, bringing the overall nationwide tally to 18,328. Eighteen people diagnosed with the virus died overnight, pushing the death toll to 148. Though rising, the number of deaths remains much lower for now than in countries such as the United States and Italy.
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Moscow, the worst-hit area, and several other regions have imposed a lockdown, ordering residents to stay at home except to buy food, seek urgent medical treatment, take out the rubbish, or go to work if absolutely necessary.
An almost empty Tverskaya Street usually full of cars at any time is seen toward Red Square during a self-isolation regime due to coronavirus, in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, April 13, 2020. (AP)
“This reserve (of time) can melt quickly, it must not be spent thoughtlessly, it must be used in the most efficient way,” Putin told the officials in a televised meeting held by video link.
“We have a lot of problems, we don’t have anything especially to brag about and we definitely mustn’t relax,” he added.
Call in the troops
Orthodox Church believers, some wearing face masks to protect from coronavirus, attend a religion service inside a church celebrating Orthodox Palm Sunday in Yevpatoria, Crimea, on April 12, 2020. (AP)
Separately, the city of Moscow on Monday launched a new website ahead of a permit system it wants to start operating from Wednesday under which residents will have to seek permission before using public transport or their owns cars or other vehicles.
But the site was only intermittently available on Monday morning, a failure authorities blamed on malicious hacking attacks, some of which they said originated from abroad.
Moscow’s crisis response centre said authorities had nonetheless managed to issue almost 1.8 million permits for people to use private or public transport to get around the city.