*File photograph of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin
Russia said on Friday April 17, 2020 that it had recorded 32,008 Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, including a record 4,070 in the last 24 hours. Following the increasing numbers, President Vladimir Putin has warned of “very high” risks, particularly in the ill-equipped provinces of Russia. Official figures showed that more than half of the new cases were registered in Moscow and the surrounding region. So far, Russia has recorded 273 deaths including 41 in the last 24 hours. Speaking during a televised videoconference with regional governors, Putin said that “the risks surrounding the epidemic’s spread are still very high, not just in Moscow but in many other Russian regions.”
Moscow’s mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Friday however reported the completion of a 500-bed hospital built within weeks, which will start admitting patients as from Monday. But Putin said every region must be equally prepared, even as several governors complained of a lack of medical equipment and specialist staff. Vladimir region governor Vladimir Sipyagin said his region of 1.36 million only has 71 ventilators and half the needed resuscitation experts. To this, Putin responded that governors “are sitting there in order to overcome challenges.” Moscow, Europe’s largest city with some 12 million inhabitants, has been under lockdown since the end of March, but officials have complained that many residents are flouting confinement rules given the extended nature of the lockdown.