Russian President Vladimir Putin made a rare appearance at Kremlin on Monday after a few government officials said that the country is looking to ease lockdown in some regions if coronavirus situation improves. The officials also said that a few tourist resorts may be opened in the coming days.
Russia is currently under lockdown till May 31, with coronavirus cases on the rise. Russia has had more 350,000 infections, one of the highest in the world, and Moscow is at the centre of its outbreak. Moscow's mayor Sergei Sobyanin, however, has said it is too early to lift.
Will Russia Lift Restrictions?
Russia currently has the third-highest coronavirus cases in the world and cases continue to be multiplying every day. However, on Monday Anna Popova, head of Russia's consumer health regulator said that the condition is gradually improving and the country is in a position to slowly start relaxing restrictions.
Popova said that of the 80 regions, 44 were in a position to ease lockdown restrictions. Relaxing lockdown restrictions will allow people to move out of their homes and go on walks and will also allow some shops selling non-essential goods to reopen.
Following Popova's comments Putin made a visit to Kremlin, his first since May 9, when Russia commemorated victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. Putin, like millions of Russians, too has been staying at his residence west of Moscow. He has also been chairing governments via video conferencing from a room in his residence.
On Monday, the Russian president met head of the state Russian Railways company face to face. However, officials didn't provide details of the meeting or when Putin would be returning to work normally in the Kremlin.
Lifting Lockdown a Risk
Interestingly, Popova's remarks come after Putin left it to the regional governors to decide on when and how to lift the lockdown. More than 18,000 people infected with Covoid-19 are reportedly in critical condition in Russia, with 3,600 deaths so far. Moreover, Moscow remains "at serious risk" and its coronavirus lockdown has been extended until May 31, according to its mayor, Sergey Sobyanin.
Experts say that lifting the lockdown could further worsen the situation but Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin feel that the lockdown could gradually be lifted. However, Mishustin urged people on Monday not to travel abroad for holiday this summer.
Mishustin himself was infected with Covid-19 and returned to work only last week. On Monday, in a televised meeting with government officials Mishustin said that licensed sanatoriums would re-open on June 1 and tourist resorts would open fully once the situation became normal.
Although the situation continues to remain critical, Russia seems not to wait further and start lifting the lockdowns in more than half of the regions although experts believe that it may not be a wise idea. However, even Elena Malinnikova, the chief infectious diseases specialist at the Ministry of Health, said that even if the second wave of the pandemic begins, it will be less active.