21:40 GMT24 February 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The initial foreign expectations were that Russia was not going to be able to withstand the coronavirus, but it turned out that it did better than other countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

    "At first they were counting on us not being able to do anything with this coronavirus at all … They proceeded from us being worthless, a nobody that would not be able to do anything. But we could. And better than other countries,"  Putin said during a meeting with Russian media editors, broadcast on Rossiya 24.

    According to the Russian president, the most unbiased indicator of success in dealing with COVID-19 is the number of infected people per every 100,000 of a given population.

    "We have 12 people, they still have 45. We have started producing 20 times more individual means of protection than at the start of the epidemic, 20 times more. The mobilization of the entire healthcare system, the mobilization of industry was simply incomparably higher than in European countries and the States. There is just such a collapse there," Putin said.

    The Russian president admitted that there is a high level of healthcare in the West, but it is available only to select groups, not the general population, like in Russia.

    "They don’t have the mobilization capacity, as it turns out. Ours is better," Putin said, adding that Russia has problems of its own and some hospitals were overwhelmed amid the coronavirus pandemic, but overall "things are better than in other places."

    As of Saturday, Russia is in 5th place globally, with 4,012,538 Covid-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The US tops global infections with 27,568,260 coronavirus cases, India is the second (10,892,746), Brazil is the third (9,765,455) and the UK is the fourth (4,038,884).

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