President Vladimir Putin warned Friday that a second wave of the coronavirus epidemic could hit Russia this fall as he noted that the country’s current outbreak is stabilizing.
Russia appears to have flattened the curve with fewer than 10,000 new Covid-19 cases reported each day for the past week, totaling 326,448 infections since the first cases were reported in early March. But its highest-ever daily coronavirus death toll of 150 on Friday suggested that the pandemic is not yet under control in the world's largest country.
“Another wave of coronavirus sickness rate is possible in Russia, from late October to November,” Putin said at a televised videoconference with government officials and health experts.
“We must keep that in mind and be ready for that scenario,” he warned the health minister and colleagues, citing Russian and foreign experts.
He urged officials to reserve extra hospital beds ahead of a potential influx of patients.
During the videoconference, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that the capital should keep in place its coronavirus restrictions, which have been extended until May 31, as the epicenter of Russia’s outbreak continues to fight new infections.
Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova warned Putin of a significant spike in coronavirus deaths in May. Russia currently has one of the lowest death tolls, at 3,249, among countries with similarly high cases of Covid-19, a figure that has prompted widespread questioning.
With new Covid-19 infections beginning to dip in many countries, governments are now struggling to balance measures to prevent the virus — and head off a possible second wave of infections — with moves to reopen their economies.