The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to the Russian capital's budget, with the losses most likely amounting to about 500 billion rubles ($6.8 billion) by the end of the year, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Thursday
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 30th July, 2020) The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to the Russian capital's budget, with the losses most likely amounting to about 500 billion rubles ($6.8 billion) by the end of the year, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Thursday.
"Of course, there was a serious blow to the city's budget. We see that at the end of the year, the losses will amount to about 500 billion rubles from what we planned to receive. Plus, about 250 billion a quarter of a trillion we have to spend additionally both on supporting businesses, citizens, and on issues related to the transition of the entire healthcare system to the fight against COVID-19," Sobyanin said in an interview with the Rossiya 24 tv channel.
The official explained that the additional spending was connected with the opening of new clinics and the reconstruction of existing ones, purchasing drugs and providing additional salaries to medical workers.
"That is a huge amount of such additional work, which we did not plan. Therefore, the blow is so significant," Sobyanin said.
The mayor added that the current crisis was unique in its own way, as at the same time, the world's prices for energy resources fell, which also indirectly affects the economies of both Russia and Moscow.
In a bid to combat the pandemic, the city authorities introduced a number of restrictions, including the closure of all services in which personal contact is likely, such as food facilities and entertainment sites, a ban on public gatherings, and a requirement to wear masks and gloves while in public places. Some of the restrictions have since been lifted.
Apart from that, Moscow residents were provided with the opportunity to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for the coronavirus free of charge in over 200 medical centers across the city. In addition, Sobyanin said last week that vaccination against the coronavirus would be free.