Putin Keeps Russians at Home Through April 30 as Virus Toll Jumps

Jake Rudnitsky

(Bloomberg) --

President Vladimir Putin extended his order keeping Russians at home until April 30, warning that the spread of coronavirus has yet to reach its peak.

“The threat remains,” Putin said Thursday in his second televised address on Covid-19 in just over a week, announcing that he’s extending a national order to work at home from this week to the end of the month. “In the view of virus experts, we haven’t yet reached the peak of the epidemic globally, including in our country.”

The Russian leader said certain parts of Russia, including Moscow, hadn’t managed so far to get the situation under control. He said he would give additional authority to regional leaders to determine the level of response locally. He noted that the stay-at-home period could be shortened if the situation improves.

While Russia’s case levels are far below those in the hardest-hit countries, authorities have struggled to form a coherent strategy and communicate it to the public. The president, whose approval rating has fallen to the lowest since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, has until now shied away from making unpopular announcements, leaving his allies to deliver bad news.

Russia reported a 28% increase in infections overnight, bringing the total number of infected to 3,548 on Thursday.

In Moscow, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin signed a law Thursday setting fines of as much as 5,000 rubles ($63) for violating self-isolation requirements.

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