20:53 GMT31 May 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - While it is important to take steps to reduce the economic disruption caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian government is prioritizing the health of the country's citizens, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday morning.

    “Economic issues are of course important but are secondary right now. The main task is people's health. The president, parliament and the government are doing everything to ensure that the health system works as efficiently as possible, without failure,” Medvedev said in a video posted on the Vkontakte social networking site.

    The deputy chairman of the Security Council called on citizens to take the necessary action to reduce their risk of contracting the disease by limiting their social activity.

    “On these warm Spring days, many people may want to meet friends, take a walk around the city or have a picnic. As such, spend these days as if they were a regular vacation. This approach is unacceptable. Leaving one’s apartment or summer cottage is only possible if it is absolutely necessary,” Medvedev said.

    Russia has faced the double economic challenge of the global pandemic and falling oil prices. Medvedev stated that while the current situation was difficult, Russia has experience in managing an economic downturn.

    “Most recently, in 2014-2015, we went through a similar situation: a sharp drop in energy prices and the imposition of sanctions. However, we managed to cope with this problem, developed many industries as the result of our import substitution policy, and became stronger. I’m sure we will solve these current problems well, but it is obvious that a number of issues will have to be adjusted based on the current state of affairs,” he stated.

    As of Monday, residents of the city of Moscow and Moscow region will not be allowed to leave their homes unless for exceptional reasons as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

    In a statement on Sunday, Russia’s operational headquarters for preventing the spread of coronavirus announced that 270 new cases of the disease were confirmed in the previous 24 hours, raising the overall total in the country since the start of the outbreak to 1,534. More than 70 percent of the newly confirmed cases were reported in Moscow.


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    Moscow, COVID-19, coronavirus, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia
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