Putin Signs Law Enabling Cabinet to Declare State of Emergency

Last week, Putin addressed the nation to announce a set of measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus. Currently, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Europe has exceeded 300,000, while in Russia the total number of registered infections stands at 2,777, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed on Wednesday into federal law a bill enabling the cabinet to declare a nationwide state of emergency in the country.

The document was published on the official legal information portal.

The president also signed into laws bills on fines for people violating quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic, fines for spreading false information about COVID-19, as well as a bill facilitating the allocation of budget funds for the coronavirus fight in 2020. The new law enables such allocations without any need to introduce amendments to the budget.

“The situation in our country is becoming more complicated. And in the world the situation with the coronavirus is very complicated – 850,000 people are already sick,” Putin said during a video call with the cabinet on Wednesday, as aired by Russia-24 broadcaster.

Vladimir Putin noted on Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic was creating significant challenges for the employment market, stressing that the government “understands everything.”

“The situation is really tough. We are suffering from a double blow. The coronavirus infection implies consequences for the economy, including the reduction in business activity. This is a serious challenge for the employment market, we understand this, we see everything,” Putin told the Russian cabinet, as quoted by the Kremlin.

The oil prices drop is another challenge, the Russian president added.

Also, Mr Putin discussed with the Cabinet the situation concerning thousands of Russian citizens currently stranded abroad due to air travel restrictions.

Over 825,000 people have arrived in Russia from abroad since March 11, and 20,000 more persons are expected to arrive since they face difficulties with receiving medical assistance abroad, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

“You have just said that almost all the cases, with only very rare exceptions, are either imported or contact – due to contacts with people who have arrived from abroad. Since Mach 11, 2020, 825,031 persons have arrived in the country. This is a high number,” Putin told the Russian cabinet.

Over 20,000 people are expected to arrive in Russia, he added.

“According to the reports that I have, many of our citizens who are residing abroad are returning to their motherland. It seems it is not so easy for them to receive medical assistance in the places of their permanent residence outside the Russian Federation. But this means a certain burden for us,” the president said.

Last week, Putin delivered a televised address to the nation, outlining a set of measures the government would take in order to stop the spread of the new coronavirus infection in the country. These include a nationwide week-off, a delay on the vote on constitutional amendments, financial support for workers, families with children and veterans, as well as tax breaks for businesses.

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