Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced the easing of nationwide coronavirus-related restrictions.
In a speech Monday Putin said that starting May 12, the “non-working” period would end across the country but left it to the regional governors to decide which industrial plants could reopen. Putin said that it’s essential to preserve jobs and keep the economy afloat, but highlighted that precautions must be taken and restrictions need to be lifted gradually to prevent a new wave of COVID-19 cases.
In late March, Russia implemented a nationwide “non-working” period, requiring all non-essential businesses to close in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Putin ordered his cabinet and the national coronavirus task force to draft recommendations to slowly ease restrictive measures across Russia. He also instructed them to conceive an “action plan or economic recovery and growth” by June 1.
In Moscow, the center of the outbreak in Russia, with 115,909 cases, the lockdown has been extended through May 31. Citizens are required to wear masks and gloves in public starting Tuesday.
While industrial plants and construction sites will be able to resume work in the capital starting Tuesday, the service sector will continue to operate under lockdown conditions.
The pandemic has been surging in Russia.
As of Monday, Russia has the fourth highest number of people infected, with 221,344 people, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. Two thousand nine people in Russia have died from COVID-19.