HomeAnalysisWHO reminds Russia of virus threat ahead of WWII parade, referendum

WHO reminds Russia of virus threat ahead of WWII parade, referendum

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday reminded Russia of the continued threat posed by the coronavirus ahead of celebrations marking the end of World War II in Europe and a nationwide referendum.

The WHO is advising Russia to undertake measures to protect public health during such large-scale events, representative Melita Vujnovic said in comments carried by state news agency TASS.

“Discussions are under way on how to make sure that mass events pose no threat to public health,” Vujnovic said.

Russia has reported more than 430,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, the world’s third largest caseload behind that of the United States and Brazil.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has noted a declining infection rate in the country in recent weeks as officials have begun lifting mass quarantine restrictions.

Putin has rescheduled a grand parade in Moscow for the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe to June 24 and a referendum exactly a week later seeking popular approval for constitutional amendments to enable him to remain in power after his current term ends.

Putin has declared non-working days for both events, which he had initially postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The referendum would enable Putin, whose current term ends in four years, to seek re-election two more times and theoretically remain president until 2036.

Putin, 67, has already been in power as president or prime minister for two decades.

He is the longest serving Russian or Soviet leader since Joseph Stalin.

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