Putin says coronavirus is ‘under control’ as Russia launches hi-tech system to spot empty supermarket shelves and track quarantined citizens
- President Putin visited a new coronavirus information centre in Moscow today
- He told a government meeting after that the situation is ‘generally under control’
- Officials at the centre said they can use artificial intelligence and surveillance cameras to monitor supermarket shelves and track quarantined individuals
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
President Vladimir Putin said the spread of coronavirus in Russia is ‘under control’ today, after touring a new facility built to spot empty supermarket shelves and to track quarantined citizens.
‘We were able to contain mass penetration and spread’ of the pandemic, the Russian president told a government meeting.
‘The situation is generally under control despite high risk level.’
Putin’s comments came after a tour of a new coronavirus information centre in Moscow that is pulling together IT resources including surveillance cameras and artificial intelligence.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, tours the new coronavirus information centre in Moscow today
Officials told Putin today that the systems can monitor social media for ‘fake news’ on the coronavirus and can spot empty supermarket shelves.
A new app is also to be released to provide free telemedicine consultations, they added.
Russia so far has 114 confirmed cases with no fatalities.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stands flanked by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, left, and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, right, while visiting a coronavirus information centre in Moscow today
A man bulk buys toilet paper in a food mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, about 1,900 miles east of Moscow, Russia yesterday
An RZD Russian Railways worker and a commuter are both pictured wearing face masks at Belorussky Railway Station during the pandemic of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) today
‘Though medically speaking the epidemic has not taken on great proportions, the same cannot be said of the psychological aspects,’ said deputy prime minister Dmitry Chernyshenko.
‘The centre… also effectively fights so-called ‘fakes’ and rumours,’ he said, citing a recent example when people began to share a false report of 32 deaths from the virus.
‘Artificial intelligence, the neural networks that were trained to do a semantic analysis, identified the anomaly. A minute later the operator here had it… and Russian internet giants made their front pages to show only aggregated information from official sources,’ he said.
A couple wearing medical masks shop in a food mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, about 1,900 miles east of Moscow, Russia yesterday
An RZD Russian Railways ticket office clerk in a face mask is pictured handing something to a customer at Belorussky Railway Station during the pandemic of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) today
A young couple are pictured wearing face masks in Moscow today, amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, in charge of the state coronavirus response, said the centre has a database of contacts and places of work for 95 per cent of those under compulsory quarantine after returning from virus-stricken countries.
‘We have identified where they are,’ he said.
‘When the person leaves the building we record it,’ he said.
Sobyanin also showed Putin images of well-stocked supermarket shelves on a huge screen.
RZD Russian Railways workers are pictured wearing face masks at Belorussky Railway Station, Moscow during the pandemic of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) today
‘This is the analysis regarding food and other crucial products. You can see there is a televised online picture fed from surveillance cameras,’ Sobyanin said,
‘We also have images made by inspectors who go around warehouses and stores,’ he said. ‘This happens in real time.’
‘We have agreed with (Russia’s biggest bank) Sberbank that starting Monday, anybody who wants it will be able to download a free app… to consult a doctor for free, Sberbank will pay for it,’ Mishustin said, before setting up a call with a doctor for Putin.
‘This system is unique in the world,’ Mishustin told Putin of the information centre.
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