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Homeland Security

Opening of Defence Ministry's medical centres for treating patients with COVID-19

A videoconference was held on the opening of multifunctional medical centres in several Russian regions, built by the Defence Ministry to treat patients with the novel coronavirus infection.

May 15, 2020
Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The videoconference was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Head of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare – Chief State Sanitary Doctor of the Russian Federation Anna Popova, heads of the Republic of Buryatia, Kamchatka Territory, Khabarovsk Territory, the Voronezh, Kaliningrad, Omsk and Rostov regions, St Petersburg and Sevastopol, as well as heads of the medical facilities that will open soon.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.

Everyone can see and hear me. Let us begin.

Today we open eight new multifunctional medical centres built by the Defence Ministry to help coronavirus patients. The first such centre, in Nizhny Novgorod, opened on April 17, and then seven more were commissioned on April 24 and 30. In just two months, as planned – honestly, it was hard to believe, but we managed to do it – as many as 16 Defence Ministry centres have been created and fitted out with the necessary equipment, all across the country, from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka. They were built in record-breaking time and to a high standard.

I know that those engaged in the construction were working almost round the clock, making use of new technological solutions.

At the same time, high-level, skilled medical teams were formed for the new centres: over 2,000 doctors, nurses and other medical staff who underwent additional training at the Kirov Military Medical Academy in St Petersburg.

I would like to thank the Defence Ministry leadership, civil engineers and military personnel for the precise and prompt performance of the task, and I would like to wish success to the medical personnel who will be working at the new centres.

I want to underscore that all the new facilities are fitted out with modern equipment and life-support systems, and they have stockpiled the necessary medicines. This enables treating patients with any forms of the disease, even the most severe ones. I am confident that the new centres will help to more effectively fight the coronavirus infection and, in general, will strengthen the healthcare system's potential in our regions, as civilians will also receive treatment there.

But again, these specialised hospital beds deployed in the regions must be kept at the highest level of preparedness. I must note that as of May 14, the Russian regions had more than 148,000 such beds equipped with everything necessary.

Today, of course, I would like to hear from the heads of the new centres about how they see the tasks they are facing, what you plan to do, and how you plan to organise your work. And I also ask the heads of the regions to report on the epidemiological situation in their regions and the effectiveness of the measures taken, including whether there are enough specialised beds. I know that there is a plan, and it is being implemented, fulfilled, but the situation is changing. What is your opinion on this issue? Do you think we have done enough?

Also let me remind you that I have instructed the regions to make all April payments to healthcare workers directly involved in treating patients with the coronavirus infection by May 15.

Listen to me. Listen carefully. We have agreed, and it was clearly and unambiguously stated, that this money should be paid for working with patients with the coronavirus infection, not for some hours or minutes they are putting in. There are specific dates and specific figures set for these payments. At the beginning of next week, we will discuss in detail and sum up the results from all the regions – I want to emphasise this: all regions, without exception, will report on how they carried out this instruction.

Let us move on to reports.

But before we begin, I would like to hear from the Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu.

Go ahead, please.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu: Thank you.

Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief,

The work on preventing the spread of the coronavirus infection in the Armed Forces has been organised with due account for the anti-epidemic measures taken in the country. This work in the army units is monitored by the Defence Ministry's control headquarters. I must say that starting on May 8 and throughout the following week more people have recovered than fallen ill. This is a major success, and I hope that it will result or has already resulted in a daily decline in the number of infected people in the Armed Forces.

The work of the army conscription commissions in the regions of the Russian Federation has been adjusted, which has allowed us to reduce by five times the number of conscripts summoned by the military commissariats. That said, the established conscription plan is fulfilled in full. Military traffic is planned in a way to prevent conscripts from coming into contact with other people. Strict face mask requirements are in place. Over 230,000 test kits and two million masks have been delivered to the military commissariats for this purpose. All conscripts have been provided with protective gear and express tests. New arrivals are put on a two-week quarantine in army units.

Following your instruction, our military experts have completed activities to counter the coronavirus infection in Italy, Serbia, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina, and continue working in Armenia.

The Armed Forces have created forces and facilities for countering the spread of the coronavirus in the regions of this country. They are ready to be put into use at your decision.

At present, a temporary centre for treating patients with the novel coronavirus infection with 1,420 beds has been established in cooperation with the Moscow Region Government in Kubinka in the Moscow suburbs at the Patriot Convention Centre. Over 600 medical specialists of the Armed Forces have been engaged in its work.

Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief,

In line with your instruction, 16 multifunctional medical centres have been built at military hospitals in 15 regions – from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka and in the south of Russia, including Crimea. Their capacities will allow them to simultaneously render medical care to1,600 patients, both military and civilian. The construction of eight centres has been completed as of April 30. Today, we are putting into service another eight centres in Kaliningrad, Pushkin (Leningrad Region), Sevastopol, Rostov-on-Don, Omsk, Ulan-Ude, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Khabarovsk.

All of the centres have received the latest equipment, which allows them to deliver the required medical support at a high technological level. These medical centres have been provided with a reserve of personal protective gear for the staff and medications.

In all, the centres have 2,200 employees. The specialists have undergone the necessary training in diagnosing and treating the coronavirus infection at the Kirov Military Medical Academy.

This concludes my report.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you, Mr Shoigu.

I discussed this issue with you at the very beginning. I said this in my opening remarks and you remember that even I had doubts that it was really possible to do so much so quickly and with good quality. But you have done a good job. Thank you.

Mr Ivanov, Deputy Defence Minister in charge of the construction sector.

Go ahead please.

Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov: Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,

This report is being presented by Deputy Defence Minister of the Russian Federation Timur Ivanov.

Today, we have finished the construction of eight medical centres in Sevastopol, Pushkin (Leningrad Region), Kaliningrad, Rostov-on-Don, Ulan-Ude, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Khabarovsk. Thus, your instruction on building 16 multifunctional medical centres with 1,600 beds and a total area of over 120,000 square metres has been fully carried out.

The construction of the medical centres started on March 20 of this year in all military districts – from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka – on the grounds of existing military hospitals. From the very first days, the construction of these facilities was carried out around the clock in three shifts. Over 12,000 people and more than 550 units of equipment were involved in this work. The National Defence Control Centre of the Russian Federation supervised the construction around the clock.

All the requirements for treating the new coronavirus infection were taken into account during the construction of the centres. All 16 of them are fully staffed with doctors that have received special training in diagnosing and treating coronavirus patients at the Military Medical Academy. In all, over 2,000 specialists have undergone training.

These medical centres have received the latest medical equipment, including ventilators, CT scanners, ECMO and ultrasonography machines as well as resuscitation equipment to provide the necessary aid at the highest technological level. A reserve of individual protective gear for the staff and medications has been created at the medical centres.

I would like to emphasise that these new medical centres will be used not only in the current situation of the coronavirus but also in the future, considering the multipurpose nature of these facilities.

Also, starting from April 25 of this year, the Defence Ministry has organised the construction of an infectious diseases centre for 200 beds with an area of 10,000 square metres on the territory of the Voronezh Clinical Hospital. It is based on the Defence Ministry's standard design for medical centres. As of today, construction is 20 percent complete. Approximately 650 people and 61 pieces of equipment are involved in the project, which is being carried out around the clock. All works will be completed before June 30, 2020.

This concludes my report.


Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, I want to thank all of you for your comprehensive reports. And now I would like to address all the participants in our meeting, including my colleagues in the Government. I ask you to continue to pay close attention to all issues related to strengthening local healthcare systems and stepping up anti-epidemic measures.

I want to particularly note that the military construction arm of the Defence Ministry has mastered the method of rapidly building standard permanent medical centres that have between 60 and 200 beds. The cost of one fully equipped in-patient bed totals 5.5 million rubles, while the construction period varies from 28 to 60 days, which means they can be set up within several weeks in any region of the country, if need be.

Colleagues have already approached us with requests to build such facilities; we have just had an opportunity to speak to Voronezh in this regard. As has just been mentioned, on April 25, the Defence Ministry started building a centre with 200 beds in Voronezh. They have just reported that the facility, when finished, will be transferred to the region in July.

I ask the Government to consider expanding such measures together with the Defence Ministry. More importantly, we should share relevant technologies and experience with the regions to allow them to independently and rapidly set up such multipurpose centres. I also ask the Government to analyse all requirements and procedures necessary for construction works and present specific proposals to simplify them.

We are all aware that sooner or later we will defeat the epidemic and it will stop; yet, both right now and in the long term, we are facing major tasks of developing healthcare infrastructure in the regions – its primary care and other spheres as well. To this end, we should make use of the experience we have gained during these days and months, and apply the most advanced technological, construction and organisational solutions in the future.

We know how the work is proceeding. When I discussed the construction process with the [Voronezh Region] Governor, who had requested that an infectious diseases hospital be built, he told me that the design work would take a year while the construction would take another two years. And yet, the facility will be put into operation as early as late June.

I am well aware of what is happening in this sector. We have discussed many times that various pseudo-participants get involved in the process. Listen, they should be cleared out, and things should be put in order. We have repeatedly mentioned this. The Defence Ministry's efforts in this regard are a perfect example of how work should be organised in terms of deadlines and quality. I ask the Government to properly review this, consider all these issues comprehensively, and present proposals soon.

Concluding today's discussion, I would like to once again thank the Defence Ministry and its leadership, as well the construction workers and all those involved in organising and completing the work we have mentioned today. This much-needed work was done in a short period of time and with the proper quality. All I have to say is thank you.

All the best.

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