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Russia extends lockdown. One billion infections possible in hardest-hit countries. Vaccine ‘won’t be ready’ until end of 2021.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a teleconference meeting on the spread of COVID-19 throughout Russia in Moscow on April 13.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a teleconference meeting on the spread of COVID-19 throughout Russia in Moscow on April 13. Alexey Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images

Russia will “face a new and grueling phase of the pandemic,” President Vladimir Putin said in a televised statement Tuesday.

“The daily increase in cases has relatively stabilized, but this mustn’t calm us down, the situation is still very serious,” Putin said. “The peak is not behind us, we are about to face a new and grueling phase of the pandemic… the deadly threat of the virus remains.”

Putin said Russia will extend its self-isolation guidelines through May 11.

The beginning of May in Russia is marked by long public holidays for Labor Day and Victory Day, with a few working days in between that will be made non-working days this year, Putin added.

After May 11, the country might start to gradually ease restrictions, Putin said. He ordered the government to prepare a plan for that by May 5.

“We can’t talk about it as a simultaneous cancellation of restrictions, we must prepare for a tough road ahead,” Putin said. “We need to account for all risks and show sensibility, so we are not thrown back to lose everything we have so far achieved.” 

In his address, Putin acknowledged “deficit of some items,” including medical equipment, and ordered his government to increase production rates.

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