COVID-19 cases were confirmed in all Russian regions, most severely hitting Moscow, the Moscow Oblast, and Saint Petersburg. As the number of new cases increased, the Russian government announced a non-working period until May 11, 2020 to facilitate social distancing. Different self-isolation measures were implemented restricting residents' movement across Russian regions, some including digital passes and CCTV monitoring. Starting from May 12, the lockdown was eased, after which the measures would be relaxed step by step, while several rules remained in place, including restrictions for the elderly population and a prohibition of mass events.
The country's GDP was forecast to drop by three percent in 2020 in case of a widespread contagion and by nearly five percent in the event of a global pandemic scenario. During the shutdown, non-food stores, entertainment venues, restaurants and bars, and beauty salons were closed. The Russian government identified the industries of transportation and aviation, entertainment, tourism and accommodation, sports, public catering and events, household services, and further and private education as suffering from the crisis the most.
The coronavirus panic, along with growing prices due to the Russian ruble fall and disrupted product supply, caused a higher demand for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), home workout equipment, electronics, pharmaceuticals as well as medical masks. Furthermore, an increase was recorded in TV consumption, especially among the younger audience, and in the use of streaming and food delivery services. Video chat applications, messengers, and online education platforms saw a rise in traffic.
The public opinion about the coronavirus threat in Russia shifted between February and April 2020, with more people fearing getting infected. Less than 50 percent of Russians believed their national health system was prepared to fight the COVID-19 epidemic, while only 38 percent trusted official information on the situation. The majority of Russians viewed COVID-19 as more dangerous than the regular seasonal flu.
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