On March 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a televised nationwide address on the coronavirus pandemic. He explicitly recognized the contributions of Russian doctors, saying, “You are now on the front lines of defense for our country. My heartfelt thanks to all of you for your self-sacrificing work.” A week beforehand, Russia’s Health Ministry issued Order No. 198, titled “On a temporary workflow for medical organizations to fulfill prevention and risk reduction measures against the spread of the new coronavirus infection COVID-19.” The order listed specific steps that both clinic directors and health directors at regional governments are expected to take as the pandemic escalates across Russia. Among other things, the Health Ministry expects medical facilities to be prepared for an influx of patients with acute respiratory symptoms and ready to test them immediately for the new coronavirus, all while protecting workers using personal protective equipment (PPE) and disposable laboratory equipment. The order suspends routine health examinations and tells clinical staff to look into the possibility of rescheduling pre-planned treatment, including inpatient treatment.

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