Excerpts from the transcript:
Mikhail Mishustin: I have signed several instructions on measures to contain the coronavirus infection in the country. Between 28 March and 1 June 2020, the work of all hotels, resorts, holiday centres and children’s recreation camps will be suspended. As of now, they are not to receive any new guests or accept bookings. Those who are staying at these facilities will be offered everything they need for self-isolation, including meals and the necessary protective measures. In addition, public recreation facilities at resorts and ski slopes will be closed until 1 June.
You know that we will have a paid stay-at-home week by decision of the President. In this connection, I believe that the restrictive measures announced for the coming week by the authorities in Moscow and the Moscow Region should also be introduced in all the other regions of Russia. These measures concern first of all the entertainment and recreation industry.
Of course, these are harsh measures. But I would like to appeal to all citizens of Russia to take these measures seriously and responsibly. Maybe you planned to visit a shopping centre, celebrate a special occasion, go to a cafe, or travel somewhere for rest and recreation. However, you should remember that people catch the disease in public places or bring the virus back home from such trips. To prevent an increase in such cases, we must take harsh and even prohibitive measures. We are formulating them in accordance with a systemic analysis of the spread of the coronavirus infection around the world and the effectiveness of measures that are being taken in different countries. We have bought some time by taking proactive measures to delay the spread of the coronavirus. And now we are implementing the most effective of the measures that have been taken in other countries. They include limiting entry to the country and placing restrictions on people’s mobility, as well as self-isolation. Only by doing this can we prevent the coronavirus from spreading throughout the country.
We know that these restrictions
are uncomfortable and unpleasant and that you have to change your routine, which
many people see as a trial, and a serious trial at that. Let us do it adequately.
We cannot do without preventive measures, and we are not taking them to restrict
people in any way, but only because it is necessary to limit movement and
cancel trips, except for emergencies. This is why the first thing we will have
to abandon is entertainment, because of the unacceptable risk.
All of us assume a share of responsibility for ourselves, our families and loved ones, and the entire country. I hope you understand the reasons for adopting these measures and stay away from public spaces during the upcoming week. The most important thing each of us can do now is stay at home. These restrictions are not too harsh considering that they will save people’s lives and health.
Unfortunately, people do not always understand how serious the situation is. Many frivolously believe that this misfortune will not affect them. This is what people in many countries believed, and we can see from the media and other sources how it has turned out. Our task is to prevent this dangerous virus from spreading all over the country.
In this situation, the President and the Government have to make crucial and very tough decisions. But these decisions will work only if each and every one of us supports them, and if we unfailingly follow the rules so as not to make the situation worse. We are not talking about something happening thousands of kilometres away. We must follow these rules here at home, with our families and our loved ones.
One more point: of course, we will not abandon Russian citizens who are, for various reasons, currently abroad. The Ministry of Transport and the Foreign Ministry are arranging their return home, and the Federal Agency for Air Transport is helping foreign nationals who are now in this country to get back home. An instruction on this matter was signed today.
And now, I would like to ask Sergei Sobyanin to report on the coronavirus situation in Moscow and in other regions. After that, I will ask Minister of Healthcare Mikhail Murashko and Anna Popova, Head of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare, to take the floor.
Mr Sobyanin, go ahead, please.
You were absolutely right in saying that we have gained some time by implementing timely measures, and we must use this time to the greatest possible extent.
I am very grateful to you for your instructions that my colleagues and I have quickly fulfilled.
First, this refers to the efforts to prepare the healthcare system and hospital beds for combating the coronavirus and for treating the patients who have contracted the virus.
We have calculated the required number of hospital beds for every region. We have stipulated clear requirements for buildings and hospitals that will be treating coronavirus patients: the number of respirators they must have, intensive care units, oxygen supply, etc., as well as general requirements for buildings, personnel and equipment. All regions have received these requirements in line with your instruction. I believe that most of them have actively launched this work.
Second, as per your instruction, it was decided to relocate laboratory research and tests to regional laboratories or to evaluate this possibility. This work is proceeding with difficulty. We have worked for a week, and we can see that there are problems, but the opportunity has emerged and many regions and laboratories have joined this work.
Today, there are problems linked with disposable materials, and so on. But our colleagues are about to register new diagnostic tests. These tests will make it possible to expedite laboratory research, to reduce the number of essential disposable materials for these tests and to make the testing faster and simpler.
Third, you have instructed us to finance these projects. We would like to thank our colleagues, and the Federal Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund has played its part and made a decision. We are discussing the volumes of essential first-hand subsidies for recipient regions with our colleagues at the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Healthcare, so that they receive the required funding. I hope that we will discuss this matter today and come to a decision.
It is absolutely correct that the Presidential Executive Order on non-working days is backed by effective measures from the Government and regional authorities. We need to use the executive order for implementing preventive measures as effectively as possible. I hope that we will discuss these and other matters of concern to the Russian regions and will inform them about your instructions today, at a videoconference scheduled to be held after this meeting of the Coordination Council.
Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you, Mr Sobyanin. I would like to remind you once again that a lot of work has been done to calculate the number of hospital beds and equipment the regions will need. Ms Golikova approved this and Mr Sobyanin passed on this information to the regions. Mr Murashko, today we must calculate the necessary financing for the regions, both for the federal and regional medical institutions. It is necessary to define the sources of financing with the Finance Ministry today and provide the regions with the relevant funding. This process will be closely monitored.
Please, Mr Murashko, you have the floor.
first of all, as of today, we have completely organised the monitoring system for all the severe and moderately severe cases being treated at medical institutions. There are eight patients in intensive care, and the leading specialists of the country are consulting on these cases. Each patient receives regular and special consultations with, as I’ve said, the leading specialists: specialists in intensive care, pulmonology and infectious diseases.
Today there are groups of doctors for every category of patients that are ready to leave for the regions. Yesterday the work on producing treatment recommendations was completed. They include the best practices from all over the world tested together with the clinical physicians who are already working on this infection, as well as all the latest protocols used in the world. I must also point out that, in addition to the clinical part, organisational guidelines have been approved. In addition to the checklists on beds Mr Sobyanin has already mentioned, 13,000 beds are being prepared for coronavirus patients nationwide. As I have reported, the total number will double, considering the division of patients into categories to provide medical care.
It is also important that, considering all the new clinical recommendations, we can predict the demand for medicines by all categories of Russians. Estimated requirements are sent to manufacturers, most of them Russian. Thank you very much for introducing proposals yesterday to amend the national legislation regarding faster access of up-to-date medicines and medical products to the market.
I would also like to say that the development of diagnostic tests has been completed today. Now the documents are being registered to issue a new diagnostic system to test patients faster and automatically. As of today, three more rapid testing systems are being registered.
Mikhail Mishustin: How soon will they be registered?
Mikhail Murashko: All registration is done within a day or two at most. One test will be released today, Vector-best.
I would also like to mention personnel training. All study modules today include a practical element on providing aid to patients, including videos and video presentations for personnel to prepare for work with patients: what protective suits to use, how to wear them, how to stay safe and what to do after taking the suit off. This is extremely important for medical personnel safety. All the video materials have been adapted especially for Russian doctors and nurses and distributed.
For the past two days, we have also been receiving inquiries from cancer patients who are worried about the continuation of their treatment. We are establishing a consultation centre for such patients at the Herzen Institute so that both doctors and patients could align their strategy, because the treatment is often connected with adjusting the immune system.
Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you. Ms Popova, please.
The epidemic situation in the Russian Federation is unfolding at a rather moderate pace so far. We do not see any explosive growth. And the measures we are taking following the Presidential Executive Order will certainly reduce its intensity. As you mentioned, if all the requirements and all the rules are observed properly by the citizens of Russia, these measures will lead to an unconditional improvement in the epidemiological situation and a containment of the virus.
Of the total number of cases, 72 percent of people show clinical signs of acute respiratory viral infections, while 18 percent are asymptomatic cases identified through Rospotrebnadzor activities and medical services in the Russian regions.
However, 10 percent of the patients have been diagnosed with pneumonia. All the necessary steps are being taken, but I would like to point out that out of the total number of detected infections, 20 percent are those identified as infected people’s contacts. They had not travelled outside Russia. The localities where the infection was initially imported have become seats of infection, with local outbreaks developing as part of the general epidemic situation, and I ask the regions to pay special attention to this and, most importantly, I draw people’s attention to this fact, because the risk is quite real today.
Of the 15,000 immediate contagion patients we have observed, 10,000 are still under observation, while 5,000 have been examined at the end of their observation period, they do not have the virus, and are now completely healthy.
I would like to point out the testing procedure. It has already been mentioned today. We have changed the algorithm and increased the number of labs. We have conducted an inventory of all lab equipment around Russia, including the facilities in public and private or any other form of ownership that are being used now or can be additionally involved in testing. We have selected manufacturers and their potential production volumes for the current and future period.
A new polymerase chain reaction test system is going to be officially registered today, which will shorten the reaction time to two and a half hours and will greatly simplify its technological set-up. In addition to this, Vector has prepared a new test system for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay tests and will enable detection of antibodies, and tell us whether those are memory antibodies or we are dealing with an acute condition. This test system also uses a shortened version, with great efficiency, and will help identify people and, what is extremely important, medical staff who have immunity and therefore can work more safely with COVID-19 patients.
I also would like to mention today’s situation with Russians returning from different countries. We are on a third wave of people returning now. The first was after the February holidays, then the March holidays. Our cooperation and the measures taken have led to a containment of the virus from those two waves. However, large numbers of our fellow citizens are now returning from various countries, those with unfavourable epidemic situations, and this is a new challenge that we need to respond to. The most important component is certainly controlling those people’s isolation. All these citizens are being notified of the need to self-isolate immediately after leaving the aircraft. For example, today, more than 6,000 people flew into Sheremetyevo Airport from abroad.
As for controlling their isolation, we very much hope that our fellow citizens take all the requirements seriously. But at the same time, taking into account the experience of other countries, I would like to ask you for instructions to speed up the introduction of digital footprint control. I know that this work is ongoing, and quite efficiently, but I believe its early completion should have a very powerful effect on organising this part of our preventive work.
I would also like to thank you for the very quick and timely drafting of the act amending the Code of Administrative Offences, increasing liability for violating sanitary and epidemiological requirements such as quarantine or other restriction measures aimed at containing the virus. The document is already in the State Duma and is scheduled to be reviewed on March 31. I do hope this will be done fast enough and the measures will be effective.