MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has started opening temporary clinics and repurposing hospitals in the capital to cope with the rising numbers of coronavirus patients, Moscow’s deputy mayor said on Thursday, as the nationwide death toll from the virus passed 25,000.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko went into self-isolation after a family member tested positive for the novel coronavirus, news agencies cited one of his aides as saying.
New daily infections neared a record high, with authorities reporting 15,971 coronavirus cases, taking the nationwide total to 1,463,306, the fourth highest in the world. President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday no blanket restrictions were planned to combat the spread of the disease.
There were 4,413 new cases in Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s outbreak, and Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova said the city was deploying around 50 temporary hospitals with a capacity of about 3,000 beds.
“Temporary hospitals were built on the territories of Moscow’s largest clinics in the spring and were reserved in case of an unfavourable development of the epidemiological environment,” Rakova was cited as saying on website of the mayor’s office.
“At the moment, some of them have already started accepting patients with COVID-19.”
Murashko’s aide Alexei Kuznetsov said the health minister was feeling good and would work remotely for the time being.
“The decision about self-isolation has been taken with the aim of protecting the health of the ministry’s employees,” Kuznetsov said.
As a token of the government’s gratitude to healthcare workers, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Thursday handed out awards to medics and doctors to thank them for their efforts in the fight against coronavirus.
(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Catherine Evans)