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Boosting pay for medical workers, jobless benefits: Putin unveils Russia’s new COVID-19 aid package

As Russian authorities continue to report new cases of the COVID-19 infection, with 1,175 new infections being reported in the last 24 hours, President Vladimir Putin announced that the government will be extending support to its citizens and companies in these difficult times.

Here are the new measures that will be implemented in the coming days to support them amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak:

Helping Citizens in Trouble

The Russian government will be expanding its help to people who have lost their jobs amid the pandemic, providing them with a one-time payment of around $482. In addition, those who applied for jobless benefits after 1 March will be automatically enlisted for a maximum payment of around $160 per month without any additional paperwork. The measure will be active through June 2020.

Families in which parents have been left jobless will also receive additional benefits of around $40 per child for the next three months regardless of their previous income. The government is also looking into new ways of supporting citizens with credit, including for housing, after it previously enabled some people to request a delay on loan payments to their banks.

In addition, all documents that have looming expiration dates, such as passports and driver’s licences, will be automatically prolonged for at least three months without the need to visit officials.

Aid for Medical Personnel at the ‘Frontlines’

President Putin also praised the efforts of medical personnel who are fighting the coronavirus on the “frontlines”, risking their own health and lives. Bearing this in mind, the president ordered for them to receive social insurance akin to the one provided to the Russian military. However, details of the insurance programme for the medical personnel are currently unavailable.

The president also ordered to temporarily boost the payments for medical personnel involved in treating coronavirus patients.

Hospital doctors will receive an additional $1,060 per month, nurses and paramedics will receive a raise of $662 per month, while other medical personnel, such as ambulance drivers, will be granted an extra $331 each month. Some $132,450,000 will be allocated from the federal budget to cover the cost of the increased payments.

Measures to Support Private Companies

President Putin also announced a set of new measures to help businesses make it through this period of reduced economic activity and quarantines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the permitted delays for tax payments, the government will also allow small and medium-sized companies to defer social payments for their workers by up to six months.

The cabinet is also preparing an additional programme to support private companies in their coordination with the Russian Central Bank. Details of the programme are expected to be finalised within five days.

Russia’s Coronavirus Situation

As of 8 April, Russian authorities had registered 8,672 novel coronavirus infections, with 1,175 new cases reported in the last 24 hours. So far, 63 people have died from the infection in the country, thus resulting in a mortality rate of around 0.72% while the global average stands at around 5%, according to World Health Organisation data.