The fire in the hospital where they treat victims of coronavirus that claimed the lives of five pacientov led to the evacuation of 150 people in the Russian city of St. Petersburg on Tuesday. Thus a new challenge has been the ability of the Russian government to adequately respond to the pandemic covid-19, which has affected even the most trusted of the Kremlin circle.
The fire in Petersburg broke out on the sixth floor, inside the intensive care unit at St George’s hospital, killing five patients, who at this time was connected to mechanical ventilation devices, according to the Agency TASS with reference to the medical staff.
Judging by the first suspicions that the fire could be caused by a short circuit or some other failure of one of the of the ventilator, according to the state news Agency. The investigative Committee, reports that this situation is a criminal case and the investigation is ongoing.
Sad news from St. Petersburg was, however, quickly overshadowed by the message that Dmitry Peskov, a longtime official representative of Vladimir Putin, was hospitalized with coronavirus.
Peskov said in an interview with TASS that the last time he personally met with President over a month ago, so nothing to worry about. But the news about the hospitalization of the Prime Minister of Russia Mikhail mishustina with coronavirus involuntarily excite fears about the health of Putin.
St. Petersburg fire was the second fatal incident related to hospitals treating from the coronavirus. On Saturday a fire broke out in the intensive care unit of a Moscow hospital, killing one person and forcing the administration to evacuate the patients, according to officials in the Russian Federation.
While the investigation is already underway, law enforcement officials told TASS that investigators drew attention to the ventilators, appearing in the Saturday and the Tuesday incidents. According to their reports, they are produced by one firm.
The current incidents come amid the spread of the virus. Russia on Tuesday reported statistics 10 889 new infections on Tuesday, bringing the number of confirmed infections up to 232 343. The country is now, it turns out, is the second in the world in proven infections, second only to the United States. Such statistics of the American University Johns Hopkins, and Moscow — the most affected city in Russia with 121 301 case of infection.
Putin under fire
Coronavirus is becoming a step in the cascade of crises for Putin. In March was lower oil prices after a quarrel between Russia and Saudi Arabia, when the Saudis have started a price war against Russia, unhappy with Moscow’s refusal to sign the decision of OPEC to reduce oil production. Since then, Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed on a new deal in the name of maintaining prices, but the price of oil is an important source of income for Russia — are still at a low level due to an unexpected pandemic, reduce economic activity.
All this caused excitement among the professional observers for Russia, maybe the Kremlin was already not able to cope with the consequences of a pandemic? Putin and pressed so powerfully dissatisfied, he is under fire people who put him in the guilt of unwillingness to throw out to help small businesses all the money from the reserve funds. Payments from these funds, accumulated through energy exports, according to these critics, could revive the economy, especially small business.
In a television interview on Monday, Mr. Putin said that his priority is to “restart the economy at the first opportunity”.
But Putin seems to have lost touch with life and cut off from people, though he is remotely controlling governmental struggle against coronavirus from his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo. Russians are taught to see an active image of Putin, created by the Kremlin PR machine. It is hoped that this image will be destroyed: the struggle with the crisis by remote video conference does not make macho-effect, which the Russian used.
In addition, the current management style of Putin surprises and intrigues with its passivity. On Monday, Putin announced that the government begins to remove all of the continued elongation of the national “holidays” — so called in Russia, paid leave for employees.
But the final hard decisions on the lifting of the lockdown Putin delegated to local governors. They must decide when to remove rigor. And then, and manifested the seriousness of the crisis: many governors extend non-working days and appropriate action.
This is especially clear in the capital, mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced that some restrictions will remain until may 31. The Moscow authorities also introduced a General obligation to wear masks and gloves.
The reason for this is clear: the crisis is severe and real risk to public health. Compared to April last year in Moscow has increased the number of deaths. Looks bad the current statistics of deaths and compared with average data for a decade. And registration office of the city, fixing death signaled about their data.
In an interview with state channel Rossiya-24, the Moscow mayor said that the testing shows that the infection rate is three times higher than officially declared. A growing number of infections in St. Petersburg — the scene of the incident on Tuesday of a fire. According to the office for the fight against the pandemic, the city already has 8 050 infections with the increase of 339 new just in the last 24 hours.
Mary Ilyushina from the office of si-EN-EN in Moscow participated in the preparation of this report.