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Doctors & nurses on frontline in battle against Covid-19, says Putin as he gives them pay rise & same health benefits as military

Russian President Vladimir Putin has compared medics treating patients suffering from coronavirus to the military fighting on the frontlines, as he announced salary increments for them amounting to up to over $1,000.

All medical staff involved in combating the deadly coronavirus outbreak in Russia will be given a pay rise, including doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers. The measure is expected to stay in force for at least three months.

“They are working selflessly, as one team,” the president said, as he hailed the efforts taken by the medics to help those suffering from the disease.

“These specialists are working on the ‘frontlines’,” the president said, adding that it would be only right to provide them with the same insurance guarantees the government currently grants to the Russian military.

He also warned that all Russian regions should prepare for a potential increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and enhance the capacities of the local medical facilities.

The president also announced new measures aimed at supporting businesses. Small and medium enterprises would be granted relief from pay insurance contributions for six months. They would also be allowed to settle up tax debts within a year after the current restrictions on business activities are lifted.

Still, the state should first help those companies that make efforts to refrain from firing employees, Putin said, calling it a “just assistance formula.”

“If people are out of job, we will then help them directly instead,” he said.

At some point, the president decided to turn to Russia’s ancient history to somewhat lift the nation’s spirits as he compared the epidemic to an invasion of savage nomadic tribes Russians’ ancestors repelled centuries ago.

“Our nation has repeatedly underwent serious trials. It was tormented by Pechenegs and Cumans. Yet, Russia has beaten all of them. We will beat this coronavirus disease as well. Together, we will overcome anything.”

Header: FILE PHOTO. © Sputnik / press service of the First Moscow State Medical University