Russia did better than Western countries in mobilizing its healthcare system to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. That’s according to President Vladimir Putin, who called the response in the EU and the US a “collapse.”
The president’s comments came during a private meeting of editors-in-chief of Russian outlets last Wednesday. At the weekend, the Kremlin decided to release a few clips of the discussion, including the president’s opinions about the country’s healthcare capacity.
“The assumption was that we were worthless…that we couldn’t do anything,” Putin said. “But we could, and we did better than other countries.”
According to the president, the level of healthcare in Western countries is “very high,” and Russia is still very far away from that quality of treatment “in some areas.” However, when it came to a quick pandemic response, Russia was better. The leader also noted that high quality care in countries like the US is only available to a select few.
“The mobilization of the entire healthcare system and industry turned out to be incomparably higher than in European countries and the United States, where it simply collapsed,” Putin said.
He was also careful to highlight that he believes Russia has done a much better job than other nations in battling the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, he claimed that Russia has an infection rate of 12 cases per 100,000 people, compared to 45 in certain other countries. He also revealed that Russia has managed to increase the production of personal protective equipment 20-fold.
“We have problems, too. I know how people lay in the corridors in hospitals… still, it’s better than in other countries,” he added.
Last week, Russia’s federal statistics agency Rosstat revealed that around 162,000 people died of Covid-19 in Russia in 2020, far higher than the government’s Coronavirus HQ figure of 57,555. While the official numbers are exceptional compared to most of Europe, the Rosstat death count casts doubt on Moscow’s claims that the country coped much better.
As well as a quickly mobilized healthcare system, the president also noted that Russia produced the world’s first registered Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V. The achievements of the country’s scientists have not been received well by the outside world, he believes.
“This is not our only achievement. We have many achievements. This is already beginning to irritate them, hence the policy of containment,” he said. “As soon as we began to stabilize, to get up on our feet, the policy of containment began immediately.”
Earlier this month, the British scientific journal Lancet published the results of the phase III clinical trials of Sputnik V, revealing an efficacy of 91.6 percent with immune response developed in 100 percent of volunteers.
According to official government numbers, Russia has confirmed 4,086,090 cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic began. The country’s infection figures are the fifth largest in the world, behind the US, India, Brazil, and the United Kingdom.
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