Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the strict preventive measures taken in Moscow against the spread of the coronavirus are "justified and necessary", speaking to representatives of Russia's federal districts via video conference in Moscow on Monday.

"Self-isolation regime has been introduced for residents [of Moscow] and Moscow region. This measure is justified and necessary for a multimillion agglomeration, which was the first to face the coronavirus spread," stressed Putin.

The Russian leader also noted that the approach chosen had allowed Russia to "contain the explosive spread of coronavirus" during the last few weeks, and to "avoid a scenario that has already been faced by a number of countries".

The president added that those who neglected the restrictions were guilty of "criminal negligence" and asked local authorities "to monitor and ensure strict compliance with all restrictive measures".

The measures announced by Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Sunday drastically restrict the movement of people. From Monday, Muscovites are only allowed leave their homes for limited reasons including going to the supermarket, pharmacy, medical treatment and walking their dog.

Russia saw its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases on Monday, with 302 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases to 1,836. Nine people have died from the virus, according to official figures.

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Associated Press 11 May 2020 11:44 CEST

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