Excerpts from the transcript:
Mikhail Mishustin: Colleagues, today I have signed a directive on the allocation of 1.4 billion roubles to the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) from the Government’s Reserve Fund.
These funds will be used first of all to promote the efforts to create vaccines, as well as to test and select the most effective medicines, both existing ones and those that are being created. Vector State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology has been put in charge of this. Furthermore, work on new testing kits will continue. Money will be also allocated to the Russian Research Anti-Plague Institute Microbe, which is actively involved in the fight against the novel coronavirus. And some funds will be also allocated to Rospotrebnadzor’s system of laboratories to expand testing for coronavirus cases.
Mr Siluanov (Finance Minister Anton Siluanov), please, see to it that these funds reach these organisations today.
I have also authorised an increase in the number of beds for potential coronavirus patients at the healthcare facilities in all regions. Ms Golikova (Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova), I know that you have instructed the Federal Service for Supervision of Healthcare (Roszdravnadzor) to inspect the medical facilities where additional beds for such patients will be set up. Yesterday you approved the Healthcare Ministry’s preliminary estimate of the number of additional hospital beds and the equipment required. Sergei Sobyanin, my first deputy at the Coordination Council, updated the heads of all regions about this at a teleconference yesterday.
It is exceptionally important for the regional authorities to be ready to set up beds for the coronavirus patients without delay. The regions must do this now, and Roszdravnadzor will inspect their work and report on it. You are working together with them on this matter. I would like to ask you to report back to me on the coronavirus situation in the regions. If we see that a governor or the minister concerned is not giving the necessary attention to this, we will take measures and will punish them severely. Disregard for the safety of our people at this difficult time is absolutely unacceptable.
Now I would like you, Ms Golikova, to give updates. Go ahead, please.
Tatyana Golikova: Mr Mishustin, colleagues,
A few words about the general situation around the world. There are 423,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, with almost 19,000 deaths while 108,600 people have recovered.
The spread of the infection has been recorded in 167 countries outside of China. Unfortunately, the infection is spreading, and the number of countries where new cases are being detected is growing every day.
I regret to say that almost 70,000 cases have been recorded in Italy, and nearly 7,000 of these people died.
What is happening in Russia? In Russia today, we have 658 patients in 55 regions. As many as 29 people have recovered, and 112,000 are under supervision and in self-isolation.
I will not list the measures being taken, but I would like to mention a few, on which we made decisions at the response centre on 23 March. With regard to preschools and kindergartens, it was decided to instruct the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Healthcare to circulate methodological recommendations in the regions on the implementation of any organisational and legal measures in preschool institutions to reduce the risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus infection, including regular medical examinations in a situation of free attendance. Furthermore, it was decided to recommend that all regions suspend operations of all nightclubs, discos and similar facilities, cinemas, theatres, children's playrooms and entertainment centres, as well as other entertainment and leisure facilities.
Once again I would like to appeal to our colleagues. All this is being done to ensure people’s safety and protect their health, because people can come into contact with those infected with COVID-19 without knowing it.
The Ministry of Labour and the Social Insurance Fund have been instructed to temporarily cease sending people to health resorts.
We also recommended that the regions introduce a ban on smoking hookahs in restaurants, bars, cafes and other similar facilities.
Starting 24 March, on our instructions, regional authorities began to report the measures they were taking in relation to senior citizens and people with concomitant conditions and complications such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases, which can lead to more severe cases of infection.
Once again, I appeal to the regional governments. This is the deadline by which time you should have provided the information. The only regions that have sent us their reports are the Tula Region and the Republic of Crimea. Once again, I remind the leaders of the regions and heads of regional healthcare: this work should be carried out as soon as possible, as we have repeatedly talked about the risk to senior citizens. It is very important for us to take care of these people’s health.
I also would like to say that we are expanding the testing in keeping with your instructions, Mr Mishustin. From late January to the present, 193,000 tests have been carried out. We have organised testing based on regional state laboratories that have been identified by the regions of the Russian Federation. I am referring to 141 laboratories in 79 regions. Now, 70 laboratories from 36 regions have been provided with the tests and they have already started this work. Also on my instructions and through coordination with the Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA), we have enlisted 17 FMBA laboratories that can also test people residing in the Russian territories where these laboratories are located.
We have discussed the possibility of major private medical laboratories being involved in the testing. As of today, two laboratories in Moscow and St Petersburg will join the effort. We will watch for some time to see how this work proceeds. But at the same time, while involving all laboratories in this work, we have instructed the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) to organise cooperation with the service and a mandatory exchange of data so that we obviate false-positive results – which is highly important – and ensure control over biological security of persons handling the material in question.
As far as the mobilisation of the healthcare system is concerned, you have mentioned the instruction on the readiness of the healthcare system that was issued yesterday. This work has been conducted throughout this period, we have worked with the regions, but now it is high time we did so in a tougher way. Accordingly, the instruction that we have sent out enables the regions to verify the preliminary data on their readiness, which were submitted to us and were repeatedly reported to you. Now, based on the instruction, they should carry out all the checks. In particular, I would like to focus on cities with million-strong populations, where these assignments must be performed within shorter timeframes than those we have outlined. The summary will be reported to you on 27 March.
In addition, I would like to note that the operations of medical organisations that function on a scheduled basis must not be stopped all at once. In parallel, we should introduce new beds to help patients infected with the novel coronavirus. The regions should identify buildings with addresses, where these beds will be placed, and buy additional equipment and means of protection, given the funds allocated both to them and the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Once again, I want to say that the situation is under control. However, I would like to tell the Russian regions that we will prepare relevant instructions today, but even before that. the regions can amend their territorial programmes of government guarantees of free medical assistance for the population and the tariff agreements in order to increase per capita funding for outpatient care. This includes the funds freed up as a result of us suspending the national medical examination of the population. I would also like to ask the regions to provide for a separate cost standard, in their territorial programmes and tariff agreements, for the pneumonia caused by the coronavirus infection, confirmed by lab tests and special examinations. Once again, I underscore: this is within the direct powers of the Russian regions but nevertheless we will try to issue relevant instructions today and charge the Ministry of Health with summing up this data and reporting it to the Government.
Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you.
I want to draw your attention once again to two things. First, the heads of the Russian regions should clearly convey to everybody the preliminary estimate that was approved by you, Ms Golikova, and reported to them yesterday during the conference call by Sergei Sobyanin, First Deputy Chair of the Coordination Council. That estimate, the number of beds and all the necessary related components (equipment, number of doctors) must be verified, coordinated and reported to us before the 28th.
It is very important work and I am asking the heads of the Russian regions to take personal charge of it in their regions and report as per the instruction.
And second, today we will draft that list, so far an advisory list, of restrictions for Russian regions, which are necessary – just what you spoke about – it is related, in particular, to limitations on working hours in shops and big shopping malls. This list also needs to be adopted by the heads of the Russian regions, at their level.
Let us continue our work.