By Elena Teslova
MOSCOW (AA) - Russian President Vladimir Putin expanded on Thursday non-work period in the country till April 30 in an effort to stem the spread of the new coronavirus, commonly known as COVID-19.
Speaking in a televised address, the president said the salaries would be preserved during this period.
Putin explained the decision with medical reasons: "The coronavirus incubative stage lasts for 14 days, and the peak of the pandemic has not passed yet".
The severity of measures will differ depending on the region, as the epidemiological situation varies across the country, he added.
The previous non-work period showed it helped reduce the risks of further spreading of the infection, there was no confirmed case in educational institutions, and the elderly were protected from the virus, he said.
Russia has taken several measures to stem the spread of the virus, including lockdowns in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and several other regions.
Entry of foreign nationals is banned in the country, and international air traffic remains suspended.
Since appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the coronavirus has spread to at least 180 countries and regions, according to figures compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
The data shows almost 963,000 cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll above 49,100, and nearly 203,000 recoveries.