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St. Petersburg continues fighting COVID-19

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Anti-COVID restrictions are in force till May 31, but the city government is developing a stage-by-stage plan to gradually lift the self-isolation regime.

The government of St. Petersburg is elaborating a stage-by-stage plan to gradually lift the anti-COVID-19 restrictions. A special focus is on industrial production facilities.

‘Industrial companies are the backbone of our economy. A second package of support measures introduced by the Russian Government provides a soft loan programme so the companies could have a monthly working capital and keep their personnel,’ St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov said.

The next stage will be opening beauty parlours, optician’s cabinets, gadget, clothes and footwear repair shops. Masks and gloves will be obligatory to wear in all public places and transport. But life will start gradually returning to normal.

Yevgeny Yelin, Vice Governor of St. Petersburg, explained: ‘We permit industrial and construction companies, a number of companies in the production chain, such as car dealers, to resume operations, because it makes no sense to manufacture cars that you can’t sell. But we need to guarantee preventing the spread of the virus.’

A new set of measures has been developed to support small and medium businesses. Property tax for companies managing hotels, shopping malls, and sanatoriums will be cut by 50%. But these companies, in their turn, ought to take no rent from their tenants during the period of restrictions. There will be also a moratorium on fines and penalties for heating payments for small and medium businesses.

Large-scale businesses on their part can afford to assist the city. Thus, an engineering company operating in St. Petersburg has donated distant thermometers for the city cancer center.

Vladimir Moiseenko, director of the St. Petersburg Cancer Center, tells: ‘We have 500 to 900 outpatients daily that receive therapy and have check-ups. These devices help us make the temperature control procedures, which are obligatory nowadays, shorter.’

The morbidity rate in St. Petersburg is not so high as in Moscow, but the city is one of the top 5 regions with the largest number of COVID-19 patients. Doctors and nurses are working day and night without rest, hospital are full, new patients are brought in replacing those who have recovered. 

Medics remain at highest risk, with 190 doctors and nurses hospitalized in the Botkin Hospital alone, eight of them in critical condition and three receiving lung ventilation. Doctors who used to work in private clinics join the anti-COVID campaign. At present, 16 hospitals take COVID-19 patients in St. Petersburg. Medics who treat coronavirus are entitled to additional payments from the city and the federal budget. 

Actress Yelena Drapeko, Deputy of the State Duma, says: ‘They are heroes. We will do everything to safeguard them. To help our medics, we should do just one thing, stay at home.’

Testing methods are becoming more accurate. 26 laboratories use polymerase chain reaction technology that excludes false positive and false negative results. The number of people being tested is growing.

Igor Arkhipov, chief doctor of City Outpatient Clinic No 107, tells: ‘We started making tests on March 31, with 60 tests per shift. Now we are making 460 test in two shifts.’

Maternity hospitals continue working under the new conditions. Pregnant women with COVID-19 are taken to Maternity Hospital No 16. Despite the epidemic, 117 women gave birth to 120 babies in April, 49 girls and 71 boy were born.

Photo and video: St. Petersburg TV channel

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