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Putin warns Russia has not reached peak of virus infections

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MOSCOW, April 29 : President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia had not yet reached the peak of coronavirus infections but said a “phased exit” from the country s lockdown measures could begin in two weeks.
With the number of cases rising by several thousand daily, Putin extended a non-working period across the country until May 11, telling officials to plan for a gradual lifting of quarantines after that.
“We have managed to slow the spread of the epidemic… the daily number of new detected cases of the disease has stabilised,” Putin said during a televised videoconference with regional officials.
“But this should not reassure us. The situation remains very difficult. The experts and scientists who we are in constant contact with to check our plans and measures say that the peak has not yet been reached.”
He ordered the government to come up with a plan for a “phased exit” from quarantine regimes from May 12 “depending on the epidemiological situation” in the country s regions.
He also ordered officials to develop a new “package of urgent measures to support the economy”.
While the country s industry has mobilised to manufacture more medical equipment and protective gear, shortages persist, Putin said.
This month, Russia produced more than 800 ventilators and 8.5 million masks and by the end of the month will be turning out 100,000 protective suits for medics per day, he said.
“But compared with what we need now, it s still too few,” he added, ordering the government to “scale up production daily.”
Virus testing has also expanded to a current level of around 150,000 tests per day, he said.

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