Moscow: Factory and construction workers in Russia were set to return to work on Tuesday after President Vladimir Putin ordered a gradual easing of coronavirus lockdown measures despite a sharp increase in new cases of the novel virus.
Putin said in a surprising announcement Monday that national restrictions were lifted only six weeks later, forcing many people to work from home and temporarily shut down businesses.
According to Johns Hopkins University, he announced this the day Russia replaced Italy as the fourth highest number of cases in the world.
He said that while he offered extensive opportunities to ease or tighten restrictions in different regions of Russia, he said certain sectors of the bruised economy, such as construction and heavy industry, were allowed to resume work from Tuesday.
Since late March, most Russian regions have been blocked to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The total number of cases rose to 232,243 on Tuesday and 2,116 people died.
Other countries have not updated their statistics, but Russia may further rank the country with the highest number of infections later on Tuesday.