Amid the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak, Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly postponed April public vote on constitutional reforms. As per reports, the vote was scheduled for April 22 and was the last hurdle before a set of reforms, including a change allowing Putin to stay in the presidency beyond 2024, could come into force. A new date is yet to be selected.
Meanwhile, thousands of residents of Moscow have been confined to their homes for 14 days of compulsory quarantine after returning from virus-hit countries. Even those who have come in contact with those infected or those diagnosed with mild symptoms have been forced into quarantine. The authorities have warned them that breaking quarantine to enter the city of 16 million residents could warrant a five-year jail term or deportation for foreigners. Moscow is also using cameras with facial recognition to keep track of all of them.
Currently, Russia has more than 650 coronavirus cases and the deadly virus has claimed one life in the country. According to reports, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin last month wrote in his blog that the enforcement of quarantine was being closely monitored. Moscow already has a network of 170,000 security cameras, set up in streets and metro stations throughout the city over the past decade. Almost 1,00,000 of them have been linked to an artificial intelligence system that can identify people being filmed.
In a bid to further improve the precautionary measures in Russia to combat the deadly Coronavirus outbreak, the lawmakers have proposed seven years in prison to the violators of quarantine rules. As the number of infections in the country spike to 495 and COVID-19 has caused at least one death, the legislation is due to be discussed on March 25 which along with a prison term also includes punishments like fines between $6,400 to $25,700 for violating isolation.