Putin on lifting restrictions: “We can't be ahead of time, but it is pointless to go round in circles either”
The restrictions will be lifted in three stages, depending on the situation in a region
Putin instructed the Cabinet to develop recommendations for a phased exit from the restrictions regime by May 5 on April 28. At today's meeting, the heads of relevant ministries reported on how the fight against the virus is going, and then Anna Popova announced what criteria should be followed by the regions when gradually removing restrictions and what the three main stages will be. The lifting of restrictions will begin on May 12, depending on the situation in each individual region. The president reminded that there are still regions of the federation where the regime should be tightened.
Greetings from Mishustin
Before starting the meeting, Putin conveyed greetings from Prime Minister Mishustin, who is ill with COVID-19 at the moment. The president said that he is talking with the prime minister every day and discussing the situation with him. Mishustin feels satisfactory, “not without a fever”, but, according to the president, his condition does not cause any concerns.
The president reminded that the restrictions were introduced in stages. Among the priority decisions taken so far, Putin noted the support of those segments of the population who are in the most difficult situation, and particularly affected areas of the economy.
Before proceeding to a direct discussion of the situation, the president addressed the heads of all Russian regions and drew their attention to that they will have to develop their own plan for getting out of the restrictions regime by May 11, based on the recommendations made today.
Putin again recalled the different situation in the regions: somewhere restrictions can be gradually removed, but somewhere they should even be strengthened. “The price of the slightest mistake is the life and health of people, so the responsibility of regional leaders is extremely high.”
Minister of labour: child benefits and unemployment benefits
First, the president listened to the report of the minister of labour and social development, Anton Kotyakov. First he announced rough information about payments for children under 3 years: payments of 5,000 rubles have already been allocated for 1 million 898 thousand children, and in total more than 3 million children across the country will receive them.
Certificates for maternity capital are issued without statements. More than 66,000 families have already taken advantage of this proactive regime.
From June 1, payments for children from 3 to 7 years old will begin for families with an income below the subsistence minimum for each family member. Since May 20, the gradual acceptance of applications for this payment begins — remotely, through the portal of public services.
Minister of healthcare: 1,133 people in Russia are currently on a ventilator
Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko said that about 80,000 people are currently hospitalized with the coronavirus, 1,133 of them are connected to ventilators, including four children. Severe condition is mainly observed in patients older than 65 years, in people with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and other complications.
Murashko stressed that medical students are working together with professional doctors, but in the “red” zone — only with their own consent.
“Money has already been transferred for incentive payments for doctors. 45,7 billion rubles have been allocated for this purpose, 42 of them — for regional medical workers. “The funds have been brought to all regions with a reserve," the minister said.
A draft decree on providing additional insurance guarantees to doctors has also been approved, and the validity period of qualified categories of doctors that expire this year has been extended for a year.
A number of measures have been taken that have made it possible to functionally change the system of medical care. To date, 126,000 beds have been converted. Intensive care beds are monitored by load. The system allows you to see each patient: 36% of beds are now available. So there are no problems with hospitalization yet. But now the number of hospitalized patients still exceeds the number of discharged patients, so there is still a certain tension in the system.
The work on vaccines continues, and in parallel, an audit of production sites for their production is being conducted.
First in line for loans — industry, construction, housing and transport
Maksim Reshetnikov, the minister of economic development of the Russian Federation, read out his report — perhaps, it was the driest and most predictable. We have already heard all this, and many times. Only some of the new figures were announced: for example, banks have already received 35,000 requests from SMEs for loan restructuring, about half of them have already been approved. The total volume of contracts under which the restructuring was initiated amounted to about 68 billion rubles.
As the most important measure in the long list Reshetnikov mentioned direct financial support to businesses that have saved 90% of the staff. More than 80 billion rubles will be allocated for this purpose.
The authorities are supporting not only SMEs but also system-forming enterprises. Lists have already been formed in 75 areas, including 1,100 organizations. They are granted preferential loans and other preferences. The first will be to lend to the industry (especially engineering), transport, construction and housing and communal services. We have already signed a loan programme with four banks for 370 billion rubles.
Federal tax service: tax figures fell by 30% in April
Daniil Yegorov, the head of the Federal Tax Service, presented his summary. It is quite depressing: in April, tax collection rates fell by 30%, including personal income tax — by 14%. The situation in the retail market shows that more than 36% of companies are not working, and revenue has sunk by 25%. However, this subsidence is decreasing from the first week to the last.
SMEs in the affected industries received automated tax deferral, automatic (without applications) deferred inspections. About 25% of enterprises fall into the category of victims. Deferrals are divided into three blocks: for six months — those that should be made in the second quarter, and for four months — those payments that should be made in the third quarter. This automatic deferral will be granted to 1,5 million companies.
The subsidies have already been received by employers of SMEs in the affected sectors of the economy who do not have arrears as of March 1. These companies employ more than 4 million people. This also applies to sole individual entrepreneurs themselves (not just their employees).
The Federal Tax Service has sent out information materials to companies that can be covered by the subsidy, deployed an information resource on the site, launched a simple personal tax reference number verification service, and made a pre-filled application for this subsidy in personal account. A taxpayer can submit an application through three channels — through the personal account, via telecommunications channels, and on paper. To date, 60,623 companies have submitted such applications, two-thirds of them meet the requirements. Putin ordered payments to start on May 18, but the head of the Federal Tax Service promises to do it sooner.
Popova: three stages of lifting the restrictions
Anna Popova, the chief health officer, finally told us what criteria should be used in the regions to remove restrictions. The prepared recommendations are a clear methodological tool for all leaders of the subjects of the Russian Federation.
So, they offer three stages of gradual exit from restrictions. They will differ by three criteria. These are the following:
- rate of increase in morbidity;
- free bed capacity;
- indicators of testing coverage.
These criteria are evaluated retrospectively — one or two weeks in advance.
Self-isolation has made it possible to smooth out the peaks and avoid an explosive increase in the incidence, Popova explained. And now a person communicates either with family, or with family and colleagues. At each stage of removing restrictions, they are allowed to expand this circle of communication.
- At the first stage, free physical education and outdoor sports, walks with children will be allowed, and some objects in the sphere of trade and services will be opened.
- At the second stage, the above-mentioned concessions will be supplemented by the opening of educational organizations and retail outlets of a larger area than at present.
- Finally, at the third stage, parks, squares, hotels and public catering establishments will be opened. At each stage of lifting restrictions, you will need to keep a distance and follow all the recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor and sanitary doctors.
Decisions on the onset of each stage will be made by the authorities of each region separately.
Powers are returned to the government
Finally, Putin again recalled the broad powers delegated to the heads of Russian regions. “Practice has shown that we did absolutely the right thing," the president said. But he turned to my colleagues: the Russian government should coordinate all this work on anti-quarantine measures and on the economy. After this unequivocal hint about the transfer of powers back to the federal centre, he reminded everyone that there is still a lot of work to do and it should be done very carefully:
“We are moving to a very important stage of work: we can't be ahead of tine, but it is pointless to go round in circles either," the president said.