In case you were wondering when the pandemic is over, Vladimir Putin says, not now.
The Russian leader addressed the nation yesterday and told them that the pandemic was not over even as Moscow lifts lockdowns.
Russia is stuck in the coronavirus mud. The virus, like in the U.S., just won’t go away. It is driving in first gear along a flat, plateauing shelf with no sign yet of a descent. And all of this as Moscow, the hardest hit city, is trying to get back to business.
Russia confirmed 7,600 new coronavirus infections to start the week on Monday, bringing the country’s official number of cases to 592,280. The country’s one-day increases in new cases have fallen to their lowest levels since April, so that’s good news. And the total death toll of 8,206. The mortality rate from those stricken by Covid-19 is one of the lowest in the world, comparable to that of Australia.
Putin addressed the country yesterday, thanking people for putting up with months of quarantine and lockdown measures. He also thanked governors, mayors and healthcare workers.
Extra payments to healthcare workers will be extended to include July and August for putting up with all of this grief. Russia’s rich got hit with higher taxes, meanwhile, going from 13% to 15% for those earning over 5 million rubles a year, which is just around $72,000. Income tax for tech companies was reduced drastically, from 20% to just 3%. And insurance premiums for tech firms were sliced in two.
Families with children under the age of 16 will also receive a one-time payment of 10,000 rubles for each child in July as part of Russia’s ongoing coronavirus relief plans.
Also announced yesterday by Putin was a preferential mortgage plan for new homes worth up to 12 million rubles in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Putin said other parts of the country are now being hit by the coronavirus. “The rapid response mechanism has worked,” he said. “No one will be left in trouble,” Putin said. “We are looking to turn the corner. The virus is still dangerous.”
Russia rose to become the No. 2 most infected nation last month, thanks in large part to large scale testing. Brazil beat them a few weeks later. And now they are No. 3. The U.S. is No. 1, also thanks to the prevalence of testing nationwide. Pretty much anyone that goes into a medical clinic today with an ailment of any kind, especially if it is viral related, will be tested for Covid-19.
According to “World In Data” charts, based on the research of European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Russia has one of the highest numbers of confirmed cases per million people as of mid-June.
“The absolute majority of the business community believes the lockdown was bad for business and lasted way too long,” says David Herne, a SPRING senior fund manager.