29 Jan 2020 16:15

Putin sets task of minimizing human casualties from spread of coronavirus

MOSCOW. Jan 29 (Interfax) - Human casualties from the possible spread of pneumonia caused by coronavirus need to be minimized, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting on the prevention of the spread of coronavirus in Russia.

"We know well that we lose people to pneumonia and flu every year, practically in all countries, including our country, and therefore, we are facing the general task of minimizing these losses, to prevent anything like this from happening in our country," Putin said.

"As to the spread of the new coronavirus, the specific thing is that it's a new thing, and the question is how ready we are for this challenge. I am working on the assumption that the government, the Health Ministry, Rospotrebnadzor will do everything to prevent unexpected things that arise from becoming unexpected to an overwhelming majority of our citizens, to ensure that everyone is ready for it," he said.

Speaking on the epidemic caused by the virus in China, Putin said many deaths have now been registered. The Russian government has already come up with a number of measures to prevent the virus from spreading to Russia, he said.

During the meeting, which was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, and Rospotrebnadzor Director Anna Popova, the Russian leader asked for a report on the situation concerning prevention of the spread of the virus in Russia.

According to China's National Health Commission, 5,999 cases of the new coronavirus have been officially confirmed as of January 29. The sickness rate has grown 32% (1,459 persons) over the past 24 hours. The mortality rate stands at 2.2% (132 cases), which is below the mortality rate for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS, which killed 9.6% of patients in 2003) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS, which has a 36% mortality rate). As many as 65,537 contacts of the patients have been identified (including 17,704 over the past day), and 59,990 of them remain under observation.

Sixty-three cases of importation of the new coronavirus have been confirmed in 15 countries (Australia, Vietnam, Germany, Canada, South Korea, Cambodia, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, the United States, France, Sri Lanka, and Japan).