The meeting was held via videoconference.
Excerpts from the transcript:
Meeting of the Presidium of the Government Coordination Council to control the incidence of the novel coronavirus infection in the Russian Federation
The situation in the country with the spread of the coronavirus remains quite challenging, although we can see that we have been able to halt the growth in the incidence rate. There is a positive trend, according to the most cautious estimates. More and more people are recovering and getting discharged from hospitals. We believe this to be the result of our consistent efforts in Russia over the past two months. Of course, the strict lockdown measures played their part, helping us win time and prevent the incidence rate from skyrocketing, as was the case in a number of other countries.
As of today, judging by objective indicators, we can see that a number of regions are ready to gradually lift quarantine restrictions. This refers to 27 regions. This is becoming possible because in these regions the incidence rate is below 1 point, while more than half of the hospital beds equipped for treating complications from the coronavirus are unoccupied. It is also essential that these regions maintain high testing levels, enabling them to promptly identify any new cases.
Russia is a leader in terms of the number of tests. We have been consistently expanding testing across the country in order to be able to detect infection cases early on and to prevent any severe complications. All the measures that we have taken to this day make it possible for us to begin gradually lifting restrictions. Industrial companies went back to work in the first five regions, service sector businesses are beginning to reopen, along with small non-grocery shops. Two people or adults with children are now allowed to go for a walk and exercise outside. This does not mean however that the common prevention measures no longer apply. People have to practice social distancing and wear face masks. Regional public health services must control the situation on an ongoing basis in order to identify any potential risk on time and to prevent a new wave of infection.
Unfortunately, those above the age of 65 will have to comply with all the stay-at-home orders until the end of May. This refers to our parents, grandfathers and grandmothers who need special care during normal times, and even more so today. We must be 100 percent sure that their lives and health are not in danger. As soon as we see a possibility to lift lockdown restrictions for them, we will do so without delay. In order to help comply with all the requirements for those of the elderly who continue to work, we offer them the opportunity to take electronic sick leave for the period from 12 to 29 May. A resolution to this effect has been signed.
In addition to this, following the meeting on the sanitary and epidemiological situation on 11 May, the President instructed the Government to draft legislative amendments in order to pay out bonuses to social workers who continued working in nursing homes and similar institutions despite the spread of the coronavirus. The corresponding resolution and directive to provide financial support to social workers from these institutions have been signed, and some 7.7 billion roubles will be allocated for payments to more than 114,000 workers.
They will get monthly bonuses for the period from 15 April to 15 July, depending on whether there are coronavirus cases in their institutions. If so, doctors will receive 60,000 roubles, otherwise the bonus amounts to 40,000 roubles. Mid-level medical workers, as well as social workers, psychologists, teachers, speech therapists and others will receive 35,000 and 25,000 roubles, respectively. Nursing staff and nursing aids will get 20,000 and 15,000 roubles, while maintenance and other staff will be entitled to 15,000 and 10,000 roubles in bonuses.
Moreover, they will work in 14-day shifts. It has to be noted that even if an employee falls sick and leaves the institution before the shift is over, he or she will still be entitled to get the bonus in full.
Colleagues, I am asking you to do everything it takes to prevent the situation we saw with bonuses for healthcare workers. We will discuss this at a separate meeting today. I would like to ask you to execute the Presidential instructions and Government resolutions in a thoughtful and committed manner, so that no one even thinks about skimping on any payments to save money. I am asking Ms Golikova to take this matter under her personal control.
The supply of medicine is another important issue. We have approved the rules to issue permits to sell it online. Non-prescription drugs can be purchased online or by phone now.
In order to receive the right for such trade and the delivery of orders, a chemists must apply online to the Federal Service for Surveillance in Healthcare and provide documents confirming their compliance with several requirements in the rules. The decision will be made within five days.
After this, the chemists will be able to sell medicine online and to receive orders by phone and then deliver them. Now, when people are in self-isolate or are being treated at home, this way to buy medicine is especially popular. I am sure that many will use this opportunity. At the same time, it is necessary to carefully monitor that the storage and transport conditions and sanitary rules are observed when handing medicine to customers.
I would like to focus on the implementation of the President’s initiative to ensure one-time payments to families with children aged 3 to 16 in the amount of 10,000 roubles per child. This support measure is really needed. As of today, over 7.5 million applications for 10.7 million children have been submitted via the government services website. I am asking Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media Maksut Shadayev to constantly control that the government services website via which people apply for these payments works uninterruptedly. I am also asking Minister of Labour and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov to process the applications quickly and be ready to begin payments starting as of1 June.
Now to the support of the economy. We are launching a new mechanism of state support proposed by the President: loans at a rate of two percent. The state will compensate the rest to the banks. The Government has approved the rules to issue the corresponding subsidies.
Loans will be available both to small companies and large businesses in the hard-hit industries, as well as to a number of social NGOs. We will allocate over 5.5 billion roubles to credit institutions for this. The Government resolution to this effect has already been signed.
The size of the loan will be counted based on one minimum wage per every employee, and this sum will be multiplied by the loan period. The money can be used for anything: this is for businesses to decide. Of course, we hope that first of all it will be used to pay wages. The enterprises that will maintain at least 90 percent of employees, the loan and the interests will be written off: the state will cover the entire sum. Those who will maintain at least 80 percent of their employees will only have to pay half of the loan plus interest. Let me remind you that the maturity date is 1 April 2021.
We will use the Federal Tax Service’s specialised platform, which has already been launched, to control the employment rate at companies. This service uses data from insurance fees entrepreneurs send to the Pension Fund every month.
I am asking Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov and Head of the Federal Tax Service Daniil Yegorov to monitor the implementation of this support measure so that everyone who is entitled to it can use it immediately, as well as to analyse whether the provided information is correct, including on the preservation of jobs for employees to avoid any abuse.
Let us get down to our discussions. I would like to give the floor to my deputy, Tatyana Golikova. Ms Golikova, please update us. I would also like to hear your view of the developments around the coronavirus.
Tatyana Golikova: Good afternoon, Mr Prime Minister, colleagues. I would like to briefly comment on what you, Mr Prime Minister, spoke about at the beginning of your speech. Where we stand with the spread of the novel coronavirus in Russia as a whole and in separate regions.
Today’s data look more optimistic than that of the previous days. But last week was very difficult for us, as we had to monitor how the holidays influenced the incidence rate. On 11 May, the President decided to end the non-working days and, accordingly, to resume the work of certain industrial sectors, transport, construction sites, agribusiness, and so on. Of course, given that relevant criteria for easing restrictions were introduced, this served as the basis for many regions to reopen separate services. But I want to say that we still have some concern about how the incidence of the novel coronavirus infection will develop. First of all, I mean other regions of the country, except Moscow and the Moscow Region, or the Moscow metropolitan area.
What has happened over the past week? In general, the incidence rate in Russia decreased by 23.4 percent, with 8,926 new cases on the last day, this is known data. The incidence rate in the greater Moscow area as a whole decreased this week by 42.6 percent. In Moscow, it dropped by 47.5 percent, and in the Moscow Region – by 14.6 percent.
Now, as for regions that are located outside the Moscow metropolitan area. For this week, we can see an increase in the incidence rate by 8.1 percent. Why am I citing these numbers? Now it is very important for those regions of the country that are making decisions to lift restrictions to closely monitor how the novel coronavirus infection develops in their region and in neighbouring regions.
There were different situations this week, and we worked very closely with regional authorities. It was tempting to open the services despite the restrictions. In such cases, regional chief sanitary doctors had to intervene to prevent this. Sometimes, our colleagues were overly cautious – they could have opened some places that met the requirements but didn’t do so. To some extent, we welcomed this attitude. Let me repeat that this was a very serious week during which it was necessary to assess the development of the epidemiological situation in each region.
You have already noted that the bed occupancy is also a litmus test for lifting restrictions. I must say that by now the regions have already exceeded the number of beds that we endorsed earlier as the minimum capacity by 67 percent. Now 158,471 beds are available in the regions. Needless to say, the bed occupancy varies in different regions, depending on the spread and severity of the disease.
Today, community-acquired pneumonias account for almost 22 percent of the total number of cases recorded in the Russian Federation – 290,678. Acute respiratory diseases make up 32 percent, and contact cases without clinical symptoms amount to 44 percent.
Of course, we are glad about the figure on the absence of clinical symptoms, but we know full well that sometimes a lack of symptoms may be followed by the development of the disease. So, we would like to draw the attention of our colleagues once again to the need for attentive monitoring and control of those that have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus infection.
As for the rate of its spread, it is 0.9 on average in the Russian Federation. In 43 regions this figure is higher, and in 23 less than one. In 19 regions it equals one. But I would like to emphasise once again that this is not the only measure for assessing the situation.
I would like to address our colleagues once again. We have not only the main indicators that should be taken into account in making decisions on easing restrictions but also additional indicators that are listed in the guidelines from Rospotrebnadzor. These are the mortality rate, the pneumonia rate, and the results of antibody tests that show how many residents of a specific region had the novel coronavirus infection.
Mr Mishustin, colleagues, in conclusion I would like to say that within the past 24 hours we did not see exponential growth of the disease rate in any region.
On the one hand, we are glad, but on the other, I would like to ask my colleagues not to relax. Regrettably, this is a treacherous disease, and we must very carefully observe all the sanitary and epidemiological measures.