Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved the gradual lifting of lockdown from May 12 even though the country has been producing over 10,000 new COVID-19 cases per day for four days in a row. He is under criticism as such a decision seems to have come from his currently low approval ratings.
According to The Financial Times, President Putin has approved Moscow’s proposal for industrial companies and construction projects in the city to restart work on May 12 during a Wednesday videoconference meeting on COVID-19 responses attended by the leaders of local governments.
The president also proposed relevant guidelines, instructing each local government to establish a detailed lockdown lift plan after May 12 as quarantine comes to an end. Russia has been maintaining lockdown since mid-March by offering paid leaves for workers, etc.
Unlike other European countries, Russia has not reached the peak of the COVID-19 spread. According to statistics website Worldometers, a total number of COVID-19 cases in Russia reached 165,929 as of Thursday, soon to pass France with 174,191 cases and Germany with 168,162 cases, which are ranked the fifth and sixth in the world, respectively. The Russian health authorities also said the country has not reached a peak in the spread of the virus.
It is deemed that a sense of threat against his life-long presidency is in the background of President Putin’s lifting of lockdown. “His approval ratings fell to 59 percent in April, the lowest since he became president in January 2000,” said The Financial Times.
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