15:53 GMT04 April 2020
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    There are currently less than 900 officially confirmed coronavirus cases in Russia, but the country's government has recently introduced a number of self-isolation measures to prevent the rapid spread of the disease.

    There is no need for hard quarantine in Russia, The World Health Organization (WHO)'s representative in Russia, Melita Vujnovic, said on Thursday. Vujnovic stated that Russia's efforts to fight coronavirus were in line with the organisation's recommendations and that Moscow was "one step ahead" in its fight against COVID-19. 

    "The measures that Russia has been implementing from the very first day when the WHO received a notification from China that there is a new virus, are wonderful, because this is not just one measure, but a whole set of measures, which is being expanded", Vujnovic said at a press conference.

    "Russia has practically advanced beyond the infection thanks to its preparedness, including both epidemic surveillance and self-isolation", the official added. 

      Melita Vujnovic
    © Sputnik / Vitaly Belousov
    Melita Vujnovic

    The WHO’ representative also said that if Russia and Moscow maintain self-discipline, a strict quarantine will not be necessary as there are examples of countries that had managed to contain the virus even without implementing harsh measures, such as Japan. 

    Earlier Vujnovic praised Moscow's efforts to contain the spread of the virus. 

    Prior to this, the Russian government dismissed "theoretical discussions" about the introduction of a "state of emergency" in Russia amid the coronavirus pandemic, calling them "hardly appropriate". 

    "We have no epidemic de facto, and the situation in our country is, de facto, much better than in many other countries. Obviously, thanks to the measures that the government has already started implementing in a timely manner", Vladimir Putin's Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

    The Kremlin spokesman noted that Russia was preparing for different scenarios for the virus' spread.

    On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced new measures to help Russia deal with the coronavirus pandemic, including temporary relief for businesses and a paid holiday in the country from 28 March to 5 April. Before that, Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin had ordered Muscovites aged over 65 to stay home from 26 March onwards. He later announced that the capital will close restaurants, non-essential shops and parks starting Saturday.

    There are currently around 840 reported cases of coronavirus in Russia, most of them in Moscow. 

    Tags:
    Sergei Sobyanin, Vladimir Putin, coronavirus, COVID-19, World Health Organization (WHO)
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