Russian President Vladimr Putin announced
Wednesday a national week off to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
"Now it is extremely important to prevent
the threat of the rapid spread of the disease. Therefore, I declare next week
non-working with the preservation of wages. The weekend will run from Saturday
28 March to Sunday 5 April,” Putin said in an address on national television.
He also said an April 22 vote on
constitutional amendments will be postponed.
"You know how seriously I take this, but
the absolute priority for us is the health, life and safety of people, so I
think that the vote should be postponed to a later date. We will assess the
situation in the regions and in the country, and only based on professional
opinion, recommendations of doctors and specialists, we will make a decision on
a new voting day," he said.
Authorities announced 163 new COVID-19 cases
in Russia in the last 24 hours, bringing the figure to 658 across 55 regions.
Two deaths were reported Wednesday at a Moscow
" Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin introduced
quarantine Monday for those older than 65 and those with chronic disease.
"The nature of the coronavirus is such that it primarily poses a threat to
the life and health of the elderly and people with chronic diseases and low
immunity," he said.
Twenty-nine people have recovered and were
discharged from hospitals since the beginning of the pandemic.
After emerging in Wuhan, China last December,
the virus has spread to at least 172 countries and regions.
Out of more than 440,000 confirmed cases
globally, the death toll now nears 20,000, while more than 111,000 have
recovered, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins