Moscow placed under strict lockdown to stem coronavirus spread

Moscow placed under strict lockdown to stem coronavirus spread
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Officials on Monday announced a lockdown for most of Moscow's 13 million residents to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin ordered residents of the city to remain in their homes for everything but essential shopping and medical emergencies, saying city officials will issue passes for anyone who needs to continue working and electronically surveil all others, according to The Associated Press.

“We will steadily tighten controls,” Sobyanin told a Cabinet meeting. “I hope that by the week’s end we will have information systems allowing us to fully control citizens’ movements and prevent possible violations.”

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The nation’s parliament reportedly is expected to vote Tuesday on a bill that could levy fines of up to 2 million rubles and seven years in prison for violating the lockdown.

Russian officials have said early measures such as closing the country's borders with China and screening arrivals from European countries including Italy, France and Spain slowed the spread of the virus but that the disease is still spreading rapidly within the nation and that low official numbers could be the result of low screening, according to the AP.

Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Altria — Hot mic catches Queen criticizing 'irritating' climate inaction Putin directs sexist remark at US anchor Navalny, Afghan women among those under consideration for EU human rights prize MORE said in an address on Monday that officials had "managed to win time and slow down an explosive spread of the disease in the previous weeks, and we need to use that time reserve to the full," the AP noted. 

Putin also reportedly ordered regional envoys to provide accurate updates on the availability of ventilators and other medical equipment and to mobilize to potentially move seriously ill patients from region to region as well as a sharp increase in screening, according to the news service. Putin has also postponed a vote on a slate of constitutional amendments that could keep him in office through 2036.