07:55 GMT29 March 2020
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    Coronavirus Outbreak Turns Into Pandemic (233)

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has suggested granting extra powers to the chief sanitary official, including the right to impose a quarantine to stop the coronavirus from spreading.

    "I think it is … possible that the chief sanitary doctor should be able to place patients into quarantine at home", he said at a meeting of a panel coordinating coronavirus response.

    He added that people coming from coronavirus-hit countries should be put in isolation. He singled out Italy as one of these high-risk nations.

    "The coronavirus has been diagnosed not only in people who have returned from Italy but also in their family members who have not travelled abroad. Under these circumstances, we must focus our efforts on controlling high-risk groups — Russian citizens and foreigners — who come from affected countries", Mishustin said., adding "they should be put in 14-day quarantine and monitored by medical staff".

    He also announced the creation of a coordination council to confront the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

    "We decided to create the coordination council to confront the coronavirus infection, which will include the centre [coronavrius response centre], which was also created, and, accordingly, the commission on the sustainability of the economic situation in the country, which will also include regional leaders and all interested parties, so that we all coordinate our actions on this situation", Mishustin said.

    The prime minister also acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic is getting more serious and that the situation in Europe is "critical".

    "Of course, at this moment it is important to protect people and take all measures to prevent the mass spread of the coronavirus infection, including in our country", the prime minister said.

    Mishustin also said that he would examine assessments by several Russian ministers on how the COVID-19 pandemic is influencing the Russian economy, financial market, energy market and social affairs.

    Russian PM Orders Tougher Coronavirus Screening at Airports, Train Stations

    "During these two days I urge all regional authorities to tighten controls at border crossings, airports and train stations both for our and foreign nationals", he said at a panel meeting coordinating coronavirus response.

    The prime minister added that restrictions on air travel to and from the European Union’s borderless Schengen zone, which come into force at midnight on Sunday, are expected to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 respiratory disease.

    Mishustin also called for limits on public gatherings across Russia, including sports events and business meetings.

    "We ask all regions… to cut the number of mass events… It is a precaution, a proactive measure to stop the infection from being passed around", he said.

    He stressed that Russia had only recorded 45 cases of infection with the new coronavirus thanks to preventive measures, but warned that the situation was changing and more efforts were needed to stop the virus from spreading rapidly.

    The number of coronavirus infections in Russia has climbed to 59 after 14 new cases were reported, according to the operational headquarters.

    Russia had registered 34 cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of 13 March, according to WHO's report. According to the health authorities, the patients recently visited European countries, namely Italy, France or Austria. One of the cases is detected in a person who contacted coronavirus infected people. 

    The World Health Organization declared on Wednesday the spread of the COVID-19 a pandemic. The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has surpassed 140,000, with over 5,000 fatalities, according to John Hopkins University.

    Coronavirus Outbreak Turns Into Pandemic (233)
    Mikhail Mishustin, prime minister, sanitary, powers, coronavirus, COVID-19, Russia
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