Putin: Russia has few weeks before omicron wave

Putin: Russia has few weeks before omicron wave

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia has just a "few weeks" to prepare for a new wave of infections.

"Obviously, we have found ourselves in an extremely difficult situation, we are on the brink of new possible outbreaks, especially as the holidays have been long and communication between people has been very intensive in that period. This cannot help but affect the epidemiological situation in the country," Putin said at a meeting with government members.

The Russian president said that Sputnik V seems to be more effective against Omicron strain if compared to other vaccines. "It appears that Sputnik V is very effective. Perhaps it is more effective than other vaccines used in the world," Putin said, adding that in any way the vaccine’s ability to neutralize the virus is obvious.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said during Vladimir Putin’s meeting with the government that Russia has so far recorded 698 cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant and will prepare new measures to combat the rise in cases by the end of the week.

According to her, the Russian government is preparing additional measures in case the coronavirus situation develops by the worst-case scenario, and will present them by the end of this week.

"We are working on additional emergency response measures, including financial ones. […] We believe we will formulate such proposals by the end of this week," she said.

Golikova noted that these measures will be applied only if the situation in Russia develops by the worst-case scenario.

Omicron has pushed COVID-19 case figures to record highs in parts of western Europe and the United States, while cases in Russia have generally been declining from a peak of 41,335 registered in early November.