16:49 GMT02 April 2020
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    On Wednesday, the Kremlin indicated that the possibility of cancelling the parade dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe was on the table, but that no final decision had been made.

    The Russian military has instituted a series of precautionary measures to ensure the health of the officers and servicemen training for the grandiose parade set to be held on Red Square on May 9 – the centerpiece of Russia’s celebration of the Soviet victory against Nazi Germany in the Great Patriot War.

    Speaking to Russian business newspaper RBC, a Defence Ministry spokesperson revealed that these measures include an in-depth medical examination of each and every soldier, instructions on personal hygiene, and regular medical observation for all those involved, including temperature checkups three times daily.

    Furthermore, soldiers from other countries taking part in the parade, including troops from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, will be subject to comprehensive quarantine measures, as well as an in-depth medical examination in their country of origin. After arriving in Russia, they will be quarantined a second time for a two week period, just in case.

    According to the military, notwithstanding these COVID-19-related measures, preparations are continuing as planned, with parade participants housed in military units of the Moscow Garrison and the Defence Ministry’s educational institutions. There, bactericidal ultraviolet lamps have been installed, and the military has built up a stock of disinfectants, medical equipment and personal protective gear.

    Parade's Fate Depends on COVID-19 Situation

    On Wednesday, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov indicated that at the moment, the possibility of cancelling the parade was under discussion, but no decision has been made. In the meantime, he noted, preparations are continuing. According to the spokesman, whether or not the parade will be held will depend on the epidemiological situation in Russia.

    Asked whether the parade could be held without spectators, including veterans and high-level state officials and guests, Peskov stressed on the need for flexibility. “I think we should not discuss at the moment what is possible. It’s necessary to pay tribute to our people, to our great country, and at the same time not to put people’s health at risk,” he noted.

    For Russia, the parade dedicated to the 75th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriot War is expected to be one of the main events of 2020, with the hour-and-a-half long spectacle expected to involve about 15,000 troops and nearly 400 pieces of military equipment, including the legendary WWII-era T-34 tanks, and authentic period uniforms, in combination with modern armaments. Last month, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that 20 armies from other countries had been invited to participate. The presidents of France, India, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Venezuela, Serbia, Belarus, Armenia, Moldova, Mongolia and other nations confirmed their intention to attend earlier this year.

    Russia has a total of 658 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including one fatality and 29 recoveries. The country has taken as series of precautionary measures to deal with the virus to date, including border closures and the ramping up of production of medical equipment, as well as testing of potential coronavirus vaccines. The government has also advised Russian nationals returning home from abroad to self-isolate, and for all Russians to practice social distancing. The World Health Organization has praised Russia for following its recommendations.

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