Moscow – President Vladimir Putin on Thursday prolonged until April 30 a non-working period across Russia to try and stem the coronavirus outbreak.
Russia, which has reported 3,548 cases and 30 deaths, has already imposed a partial lockdown on many regions, including Moscow, its capital of more than 12.5 million people.
Putin delivered a televised speech to the nation on Thursday, saying the partial lockdown and this week’s non-working period had helped slow the contagion, but that the latter measure needed to be extended.
He said it could be lifted earlier than April 30 if the situation improved.
Putin gave Russians this week off in a televised address on Wednesday last week, although many continued to work remotely.
Putin’s use of the term “non-working” led to some confusion and the Kremlin later clarified the measure simply aimed to reduce contacts between people and that anyone who had been working remotely should continue to do so.
Days after Putin announced the measure, Moscow ordered the capital’s residents to stay at home, prompting dozens of Russian regions to follow suit.
Residents in Moscow can leave their homes only to buy food or medicine nearby, get urgent medical treatment, walk the dog or take out the rubbish.