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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. Welcome!
I have asked you to sum up and to submit updates on the measures that are being taken at the moment to counter the coronavirus infection. But before we go over to updates and reports I would like to say a few words.
We are seeing that the situation is changing every single day and regrettably not for the better. The number of sick people is increasing along with the number of serious cases.
I have already noted that the next few weeks will largely determine the situation and this is why all our actions, including preventive measures on site and the organisation of the entire healthcare system should be most rational and taken on the safe side with due account of all factors.
In this context I would like to point out the following. Of course, I would like to hear from you more information and reports on how you assess the current situation in general in the country and in individual regions. Especially in the higher risk territories. These include, as we are well aware, Moscow, the Moscow Region, major cities, including million-plus cities where the concentration of the population is quite dense. What additional measures should be taken to ensure the safety of the population and to protect people’s health?
Second, in order to continue to act preventively – and although the situation is not getting any better, we are managing to act exactly this way – we need an objective forecast, not only for the medium- or long-term, but for the next three, seven and ten days. I am asking the Government to make and constantly update such a forecast based on the developments. I am also asking you to report to me on a daily basis.
Third, it is necessary to take into account all scenarios, even the most complex and extraordinary ones, so that we can be flexible and quick in adjusting our strategy and tactics, first of all, in terms of providing medical care to our citizens, of course.
The entire healthcare system must work as a single mechanism. In this regard, I am once again drawing your attention to the fact that seamless cooperation is needed both between the federal structures and between the regions, coordination in the work of institutions of the Healthcare Ministry, the Federal Medical-Biological Agency, other official ministerial medical organisations as well as private clinics. The Government has the authority to coordinate this work.
Fourth, today it is necessary to use all our resources effectively. Let me repeat that we must think through all the details and options and spread out the workload rationally between hospitals and clinics to provide room for manoeuvre depending on the situation in specific areas, for example, to quickly redirect protective gear supplies for medical personnel, ventilators and medicines as well as medical teams to the regions and organisations where they are most needed now.
Fifth. In Moscow and in a number of other regions, ambulance, clinic, and hospital staff have been working in extremely stressful conditions and under heavy workload for several weeks now. I would like to ask you to report on progress in forming additional medical teams. As we agreed, it is necessary to involve the personnel of all medical institutions, as well as medical universities and colleges.
Naturally, such specialists, as well as their colleagues, should receive all approved extra pay for special working conditions and should be provided with personal protective equipment. I know that this is not always enough. Surely, additional measures are needed to eliminate all these shortages. In particular, I propose considering centralised procurement and the formation of a single federal reserve of personal protective equipment for medical workers, as well as equipment and medicines used to treat the coronavirus infection, so that it would be possible, using this reserve, to quickly help regions and medical organisations.
And finally, sixth. You know that Defence Ministry service members work quite effectively abroad, helping our colleagues there to fight this infection. They have already gained considerable experience in quite difficult conditions. Of course, we need to use this experience and keep in mind that all the capabilities, including those of the Defence Ministry, can and should be deployed here, if necessary.
The Defence Ministry is working, I repeat, quite effectively. What is deployed abroad is only a small part of what the Ministry has, the main resources are still in reserve, so we need to keep this in mind. We will also bear in mind the fact that the Defence Ministry has spent additional funds received to build new infectious disease medical facilities in many Russian regions, which, if necessary, can also be used in the medium-term.
Let us get down to work.
Vladimir Putin: Ok. Colleagues,
We know very well that compared to other countries facing the coronavirus, Russia looks better, at least for now. Of course, this is the result of how the healthcare system in the country is organised, which is obvious, not just because the infection came here later, but because the medical personnel has good training.
We have a lot of problems. There is nothing to boast about, and we must not let our guard down, because in general, as you and your specialists say, we have not passed the peak of the epidemic yet, not even in Moscow, so of course I believe the measures the city authorities have introduced are justified. It is important that all the technical and administrative aspects are thought through and effective so that they do not create additional problems for people.
I would like to specially draw your attention to the following. It has just been said that creating additional specialised beds is going according to plan: 30 percent has been added so far. At the same time, as you have said, other Russian regions are behind Moscow by 3–4 weeks. This means that they still have time. But this time can disappear very quickly; it must not be wasted but used in the most effective way possible.
Very recently we held a meeting with all the Russian regions. I would like to focus on this once again: if something is not done on time, I will regard this as criminal negligence with all the consequences that come with it, not just administrative ones.
Now about those negative facts that were mentioned in several regions where a considerable increase, if not an epidemic, was recorded. I know what it’s all about and this is a result of irresponsibility and slovenly work. I cannot describe it in any other way. This is why I would like to ask the local specialists, regional governors, doctors, and heads of companies to take all the requests and requirements of the chief sanitary doctors and specialists very seriously. Otherwise we will have to deal with the facts, some of which were mentioned at our current meeting.
It is necessary to constantly analyse what is happening and what is being done in the country. This will result in a quick and professional response to any developments. I am really interested in your opinion on this but we will talk about it next time, and you in this case are the consumers of products – your opinion on how the industry works, on medicines, face masks, gowns and other protective equipment, both for medical workers and for citizens.
Obviously, when an epidemic flares up on such a scale, industry is not ready for it in advance. However, we have a corresponding plan for building up production and I would like to ask our medical services to respond most carefully to how these plans are being carried out. Please also report to me on this regularly.
This is what I would like to draw your attention to. As I have already asked you, and this is the existing practice, but please report to me on the situation on a daily basis.
I wish you success!