Sobyanin says Moscow has 500 COVID-19 cases

By Monitoring Desk
Wednesday – March 25, 2020
MOSCOW (Russia): The Russian president Vladimir Putin held a meeting on measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Russia, on Tuesday, whereat he was informed that out of 500 coronavirus cases in Moscow 80-90 percent will test positive.

According to an official statement, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin informed, “We already have some 500 coronavirus cases. Some of them have not been confirmed yet, we are working on it.”

Head of the federal service for the oversight of consumer protection and welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) Anna Popova said, “We have officially confirmed 290 cases and are waiting for test results for another 150 people.”

Sobyanin added, “We believe that, realistically, between 80 and 90 percent of them will test positive. But the difference between 400 and 500 cases is not that big.”

He continued, “The dynamic is high, the situation is becoming serious, especially since many people who have returned from abroad are staying at home and have not been tested.”

Sobyanin mentioned, “Those who have the opportunity to do so have moved to their dachas or are staying at home. They are feeling well, fortunately, so they should stay there. But many more people have fallen ill.”

He expressed, “Aware of this dynamic, we have started taking additional measures, increasing hospital capacities and testing. We have opened 9 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) labs.”

Sobyanin stressed, “They tested 3,000 people yesterday and will do another 13,000 tests by the end of the week. Popova is helping us with her labs as well. We are testing all the samples we receive, using also Chinese and Korean test kits.”

He asserted, “We have opened a special department at the Kommunarka hospital to check these tests to sort them out, because we are not sure of their quality even though these are certified tests. We will inspect them and choose the most effective ones. After that we will discuss the matter with Popova to decide which tests should be manufactured for the purpose of health screening, possibly even informally.”

Sobyanin pointed, “We have recently introduced quarantine measures for people aged 65 or over. Thank you for supporting this initiative. We used to think that the high-risk group consisted of people arriving from abroad.”

He disclosed, “Now a million people have arrived in Russia over the past 10 days, and we have to place them under quarantine so that they stay at home. This is one story. At the same time, elderly people over the age of 65 are in what we now believe to be the actual high-risk group.”

Sobyanin informed, “We imposed a quarantine, which comes into effect on Thursday, and all these people will have to stay at home, even those who work. They will be placed on sick leave.”

He asserted, “I believe that we could recommend regions experiencing similar trends to adopt measures of this kind. Moscow Region Governor Andrei Vorobyov and I introduced identical measures. The same should be done in St Petersburg and in all the million-plus cities, so that they all act along the same lines.”

Sobyanin mentioned, “These people are now our greatest challenge. They will require intensive care units, and this group will suffer the most severe cases. We need to flatten the curve as much as possible so that they arrive in our hospitals gradually rather than all at once. Otherwise, the system will be overwhelmed. This is what our efforts are all about.”

He added, “We have drafted instructions for the regions and calculated the number of hospital beds needed by each of them, and in what wards, and worked out standards for hospital beds and hospitals in general, how many intensive care units will be required, how many ventilators and oxygen beds, and of what kind. This is a straightforward and clear standard. The instructions will be signed today and forwarded to the regions. I would like to ask you to instruct Anton Vaino to get in touch with plenipotentiary envoys to the federal districts so that we all work together on this issue and introduce strict control, since there is a lack of awareness in some regions.”

Deputy prime minister Tatyana Golikova said, “We have tested 163,000 people.”

Sobyanin said, “This is how the plan looks, in all objectivity. This is not a question of good or bad. This is the objective reality everywhere. We have to understand that if 6,000 people arrive in Primorye Territory from virus-affected areas, this is a big problem, and sooner or later it will materialise.”

He continued, “For this reason, all regions without exception, whether they have infected people or not, have to be prepared. We will issue instructions to this effect shortly, and will oversee their implementation on the ground.”

Putin asked, “We will discuss these measures at a meeting with the Government in a couple of hours. Most of the infected people are in Kommunarka, right?”

Sobyanin replied, “Yes, the hospital in Kommunarka has the biggest experience. It has 500 beds. Some of the patients are not ill but are suspected cases or people who were in close contact with those infected, and there are also confirmed cases, including severe ones.”

He added, “Overall, we have eight moderately severe cases, including two very severe ones: one in Kommunarka and one in another place, the 52nd Hospital, I believe. They are already hooked up to ventilators.”

Putin questioned, “So Kommunarka specialises on cases of this kind.”

Golikova responded, “It was repurposed.”

Sobyanin informed, “Yes. Here is what we did. We repurposed the Kommunarka hospital to treat these cases. Yesterday I opened another clinic that was designed to serve as a state-of-the art turnkey-ready perinatal centre, but it was repurposed along with 7 other hospital buildings. We are about to close a big hospital with 1,300 beds in order to repurpose it this way. Within three to four weeks we intend to expand our capacity to 5,000 beds dedicated to treating coronavirus patients. We would like to ask our colleagues to give us another 5,000 beds at federal institutions.”

He continued, “We need to take the same measures in all other regions. This requires extensive and major efforts. Ahead of the meeting, I visited the construction site of a new hospital. It took us two weeks to complete 40 percent of the project.”

Sobyanin expressed, “Two weeks ago, I went there, pointed my finger at an empty plot and showed were the hospital was to be erected. Today, 5,000 people are working there, and we will probably open the hospital in three weeks. This will be a huge hospital.”

He mentioned, “We visited the Morozov Hospital earlier today, but this one will be even bigger. It will be spread out horizontally: a one-storey building with staff living quarters, etc. It will be an enclosed space. Half of the beds in this hospital, 260 out of 500, will be in intensive-care units, which is something we have never seen before here.”

Sobyanin said, “I propose that we visit Kommunarka, where there are only 60 beds in intensive-care units, while the new hospital will have 260. This means that there will be a lot of equipment. Building barracks does not make any sense at this point in time. We need facilities for treating severe cases.”