Russia’s ‘Coronavirus Holiday’ Could Be Extended for Another Week: Report

President Vladimir Putin’s ‘non-working’ paid time off could be extended for another week as the country steps up measures against the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Kommersant reported Thursday.

A “non-working week” in whole Russia was declared from March 28 to April 5 to encourage people to stay home and slow the spread of virus, which has infected 2,777 and killed 24 Russians as of Wednesday.

Authorities in Moscow, which instituted strict lockdown procedures during the week, plan to enforce self-isolation using government-issued QR codes and other surveillance tools.

Kommersant, without citing sources, said it had obtained information that the “non-working week” will roll over into the week of April 5-11.

“The situation is becoming more complicated in our country,” Putin said during a remote cabinet session Wednesday. The same day, he signed into law jail terms of up to seven years for violating quarantine rules and five years for spreading “fake news” surrounding coronavirus.

Senior government officials have urged Putin to extend the non-working week, citing the virus’ incubation period of up to 14 days.

“But even 14 days is of course not enough,” Anna Popova, who heads Russia’s consumer protection watchdog, said at her briefing.

The Russian government has allocated $18 billion to fight the pandemic and carry out anti-crisis measures, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said.

A majority of Russian regions have, like Moscow, introduced partial lockdown measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Chechnya became the first Russian region to seal off its internal borders, a measure set to take effect this Sunday.

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