President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Citizens of Russia, friends,
The non-work week in Russia is coming to an end. However, doctors, nurses and all medical personnel continue to work intensely.
It is a difficult time for them now. They are holding the line of defence against the advancing epidemic: they are treating and saving people as well as preventing the contraction and development of the disease. I am confident that all Russians will share my heartfelt gratitude to our medical personnel.
People working in other fields that are vital for Russia and society are also doing their duty now. I would like to sincerely thank you all, without exception.
And, of course, I would like to thank volunteers and people who care, everyone who understood and felt their personal responsibility in countering the epidemic and who strictly follow the recommendations of the authorities and medical specialists, take care of themselves, their families and the safety of those around them.
The nationwide non-work week as well as the self-isolation regime declared in many regions made it possible for us to gain time to take preventive action, to mobilise all the government bodies and to increase the healthcare system’s resources to counter the epidemic as effectively as possible using our own experience and the best practices from other countries.
I believe it of great importance that overall we have managed to protect the elderly from the serious threat so far and prevent outbreaks of the epidemic at kindergartens, schools, universities and other educational institutions.
Of course, now we have to think about our next steps and decisions. Let me stress that when making decisions we have to understand that the threat is still present. Virologists believe that the global peak of the epidemic is still ahead of us, including in Russia.
In this context, I have decided to prolong the official non-work period until the end of the month, or through April 30. Let me stress that wages will be retained.
At the same time, the situation is changing, and it is different in different regions and even in individual municipalities. We have a very large country with varying population densities and regions where the coronavirus has already created a serious threat to people. This applies, for one, to Moscow where the trend has not been reversed yet despite the measures taken by the federal and municipal authorities. Meanwhile, there are regions where not a single case of the disease has been identified, although there are fewer of them as time goes on.
Therefore, restrictions should be tightened in some regions, whereas local, spot solutions may be sufficient in others with a high level of preparedness. These specific distinctions must be taken into account.
In this context, the regional heads will be granted additional authority in line with my Executive Order. By the end of this week, they will have to plan out a set of specific preventive measures that are the most rational for their regions in terms of the health and security of the people and the sustainability of the economy and key elements of the infrastructure.
Let me repeat that the regions themselves will make decisions that are based largely on the objective situation. These decisions should determine what regime to introduce in a region or its individual municipalities under the presidential Executive Order, which companies and organisations need to suspend their activities and which can continue operating with strict observance of public health.
Let me add that, as before, work will continue at government bodies, companies with continuous production, medical facilities and pharmacies, shops selling the basic necessities and all vital services.
If there is a need to impose additional restrictions on backbone companies and educational and research organisations, the regions will have to coordinate the decision with the Federal Government.
It is critical to ensure interaction between different levels of government, including the federal, regional and municipal governments. I therefore asked my plenipotentiary envoys in the federal districts to closely coordinate this work in the regions. All information must go to the Government Coronavirus Effort Coordinating Board for processing and analysis and be used in decision-making.
Of course, the regional authorities must coordinate their actions with the sanitary and epidemiological authorities. The key and unconditional goal here is proper protection, health and safety of the Russian people.
We will see where the situation goes from here and make further decisions and, situation permitting, will adjust the duration of the announced period of compulsory days off to reduce it.
I have another point to make. As we implement measures to combat the epidemic, we must not forget that it is just as important to preserve jobs and incomes. This is a common priority for the Government, the regional authorities and for businesses. An efficient and steadily performing economy provides the basis for achieving our key goals, including in healthcare.
Fellow citizens, please continue to strictly follow the instructions issued by the authorities and the recommendations of the doctors and specialists, and to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Our shared responsibility and mutual support remain extremely important and, in some cases, decisive. Even this short week has shown that with the proper understanding of the complexity of the situation, we can manage to reduce the risks effectively. I am sure that we will continue to act in the same coordinated and reliable manner. Most importantly, we must be proactive.
Thank you. Stay well.