The meeting focused on preventing the spread of the coronavirus, and the socioeconomic situation in the region.
As concerns the epidemiological situation, the Governor reported that as of today, the region has 1,853 confirmed COVID-19 cases; 742 people are in hospital, seven patients are on ventilators, 621 people have recovered and 25 lives could not be saved. The region has allocated 939 hospital beds for treating coronavirus patients, including 490 with oxygen supply. Over the period of the epidemic, the testing capacity has been increased more than four times and currently, more than 900 tests are being conducted in the region on a daily basis. More than 20 companies are producing 360,000 facemasks per day.
The Governor reported on the support of medical workers, incentive payments for challenging working conditions, provision of anti-exposure suits, masks and other protective gear.
The President and the Governor also discussed supporting businesses and providing social support to the public.
The governor extensively covered the agricultural industry as an important element of the region’s economy. He noted that the grain harvest has been growing annually over the past six years and in 2019, a record amount of 319,000 tonnes was recovered, which is definitely a success for a region with high risk farming. This year, the region also set the goal of increasing the grain harvest by another 10 percent and increasing the rapeseed harvest by 20 percent. In 2019, the region won back the title of the largest sower of flax in the Central Federal District and the second largest in the country. A modern flax processing factory will be finished this year, to close the circuit and produce value-added goods.
Alexei Ostrovsky also brought up a priority issue for himself, which is the end of his term of office as Governor in September. He noted that five years ago, the President appointed him Acting Governor and he was later supported by the region’s public during the election. Ostrovsky noted that over his term, there have been achievements but, of course, unresolved problems and difficulties remain. At the same time, the region, of course, has great potential and he himself has the energy and enthusiasm to continue working. Therefore, if the President vests his confidence in him, he will run again and, if supported by the region’s voters, would like keep working.
The President noted that in the current extraordinary circumstances caused by the coronavirus, the regional administration is being rather productive. He pointed out, however, that only 30 percent of the tillable land in the region is efficiently cultivated, the growth rate of the processing industries leaves much to be desired, residential construction and any construction in general has significantly slowed down.
Vladimir Putin also asked the Governor to speak about the most important, promising and interesting investment projects that deserve particular attention and support from the regional and federal officials. The Governor said that he would like to rely on support with building the second power unit for the Smolenskaya NPP and said he appreciates the federal targeted programme for agricultural land reclamation.
The President said that overall, he considers the Governor’s work successful and he welcomes his decision to run again. However, it is the voters who will be responsible for the ultimate review of his performance during the upcoming election in September. The President wished Alexei Ostrovsky success in the election.