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Putin extends non-working period to end of April to curb coronavirus

Since Monday Russians have had a period of national non-working days when they are still entitled to full pay in a bid to reduce transmission of the virus.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Picture: @KremlinRussia_E/Twitter.

MOSCOW, Russia - President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said Russians will continue not going to work while receiving pay until the end of the month to combat the coronavirus.

"I've taken a decision to extend the period of non-working days until April 30," Putin said in an address, adding that each region can decide what lockdown measures are needed.

Since Monday Russians have had a period of national non-working days when they are still entitled to full pay in a bid to reduce transmission of the virus.

In his second televised address on Russia's response to the virus, Putin said that in Moscow "so far it has not been possible to turn around the situation despite the measures taken by federal and city authorities."

The capital city with more than 12 million inhabitants has seen the most cases so far.

Moscow has been under lockdown since Monday with all but essential shops closed and residents told to stay at home.

"The threat remains" Putin said, with the peak of the pandemic still to come both globally and in Russia.

Regional authorities should take decisions on what needs to be shut down based on the "objective situation" while ensuring people's safety, Putin said.

He said Russia will take further measures and it was possible the period of non-working days could be reduced if the situation improves.

Russia currently has 3,548 confirmed cases and 30 deaths have been announced.