Moscow coronavirus shutdown extended as mayor warns: 'things are getting worse'

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By Orlando Crowcroft
Moscow's mayor, Sergey Sobyanin, made a statement via his website.
Moscow's mayor, Sergey Sobyanin, made a statement via his website.   -   Copyright  Sergey Sobyanin

The mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin, has warned that the COVID-19 outbreak is "getting worse" and announced the tightening of the lockdown in the Russian capital.

In a statement on his website, Sobyanin said that the number of patients arriving at Moscow hospitals with symptoms of the coronavirus had risen from 500 to 1,300 per day.

Moscow had recorded more than 8,852 cases of coronavirus infection, about 65% of the country's total, and 58 deaths.

'Patience and courage'

Although the city has largely been under lockdown for the last two weeks, Sobyanin said that many people had not stuck to the government advice to only leave their homes to buy food, medicine, or to work in essential roles that cannot be done remotely.

"We must stock up our patience and courage and do our utmost to responsibly follow the rules and restrictions that have been set," he said.

As a result, he said, the city would introduce a new system of passes that would need to be shown to police.

"In the coming days and weeks, we will face severe trials. We must be patient and courageous, and be as responsive as possible with the observance of established rules and restrictions," he said.

"Only in this way can we cope with this scourge and save the lives of people close to us."

Russia has retrofitted 25 hospitals to deal with an influx in coronavirus cases and will now create 40 new centres designed to specifically deal with those who have contracted the virus.

Sobyanin said that in Moscow, authorities were testing 17,000 people a day, with plans to increase this number.