Russia’s public health system should be prepared for a possible surge in coronavirus cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Russia Melita Vujnovic tolf TASS on Monday commenting on the plans to lift most of the coronavirus lockdowns in Moscow from June 9, APA reports citing TASS.
"It is important to observe the efficient measures and when the lockdowns are lifted it is important to continue to identify and isolate [infection] cases, to identify and trace contacts and suspicious cases and isolate them too, to protect medical personnel from the infection and keep the public health system on alert, ready to react to the double problem, i.e. to ensure availability of basic medical services and offer prompt reaction to possible morbidity growth."
She noted that from the very beginning of the coronavirus epidemic outbreak Moscow’s authorities "have been taking a set of medical and non-medical measures that have made it possible to slow down the epidemic, to flatten the epidemic curve and protect the healthcare system from overload."
"The WHO would like to recall that the decrease in COVID-19 cases is a result of the measures taken by the public health system to stop the virus transmission. This is not a mere ‘natural’ course of the epidemic," she added.
The WHO official stressed the necessity to continue to observe key hygienic rules and continue to wear face masks. "The new norms are becoming our reality," she noted.
"Although it is important to remember that masks cannot guarantee 100% protection when you are in public places (in transport or in shops) where you cannot keep a physical distance, masks will ensure protection," she said.
A high alert regime over the coronavirus epidemic was imposed in Moscow on March 29. Many businesses, culture facilities and urban spaces were closed and people were strongly advised to go into self-isolation. When the epidemic situation began to improve, the city’s authorities started to ease the coronavirus lockdowns. Industrial enterprises and construction sites, state services centers resumed work from mid-May. Non-food stores and some service companies opened from June 1.
Digital passes and lockdown requirements would be lifted as of June 9. Hairdressing salons, veterinary clinics and personnel recruitment agencies are to reopen. The same applies to the offices of non-governmental organizations and cemeteries. Restrictions will be lifted from car sharing services. Film and sound recording studios and research centers will resume normal operation. Theaters, concert halls and circuses will be able to conduct rehearsals.
In a week’s time - starting from June 16 - dentist clinics, companies in the real estate segment, leasing, law, accounting, consulting, advertising and market research will get back to normal activity. It will be possible to hold sports competitions on the condition the seat occupancy rate will be no greater than 10%.
Summer cafes, libraries, museums, exhibition halls and zoos will be able to reopen provided they observe restrictions on the number of visitors at any one time
In the third phase, starting on June 23, gyms, fitness clubs and swimming pools will be allowed to open alongside restaurants, cafes, canteens, bars, and other public catering outlets, spa salons, sunrooms, steam baths and saunas.
To date, a total of 476,658 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 230,688 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 5,971 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.