For ten days now, the number of Covid-19 cases in Russia has been on the rise. While many have expressed concern at the trend, fearing the kind of ‘second wave’ affecting other parts of Europe, officials appear to be calm.
For instance, Tatiana Ruzhentsova, head of the clinical department of at the national sanitary watchdog’s Research Institute of Epidemiology, says she’s unconcerned.
“We see no dramatic surge, but the incidence rate is showing upwards tendencies. I would like to stress once again that it was an expected situation because all those who have symptoms of respiratory infections are tested,” she outlined, earlier in this week. “And it’s only natural that we see this growth. Probably, it may mean a second wave, if we want to call it this way, but we don’t expect any dramatic surges or a serious worsening of the situation.”
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin similarly foresaw the possibility an increase in cases. In his address to the meeting of the government’s coronavirus Coordination Council last week, he explained that an rise in infections was to be expected as students returned to school. But the PM also stressed that, “At the same time, the regions are ready to treat patients with coronavirus. There is everything you need: medical equipment and personal protective equipment, … a reserve of beds. A vaccine has already been created to fight the infection.”
Meanwhile, the WHO’s representative in Russia has also downplayed talk of a second lockdown. Melita Vuinovich opined that, “such measures are a means to slow down the transmission of the virus and buy time, if necessary, [and] to increase the country’s ability to screen suspicious cases, isolate, and treat confirmed cases, and [develop] contact tracing and quarantine.”
Ruzhentsova adds that hospitals are not overloaded, and most reported cases appear to be mild and can be treated at home, Thus, the expert believes the need for further lockdown seems unlikely.
To date, 1,122,241 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 923,699 patients registered as having recovered from the disease. Moscow’s latest data indicates 19,799 known fatalities nationwide. The country is the fourth most affected nation globally, after the US, India, and Brazil. However, when measured per capita, Russian cases are at much the same level as France, which has conducted around half as many tests.