MOSCOW 

Moscow authorities launched on Thursday free COVID-19 testing for 12.6 million residents of the capital in a bid to control the spread of infection.

Testing by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is organized in 207 Moscow clinics, with 45 of them also capable of running tests on children, the city administration said in an announcement on its official website.

The test results will be entered into patients’ electronic chart within three days from the date of testing, it said.

Russia provides free health care and medical assistance to all citizens, including testing and medical help to people affected by COVID-19.

However, until now only people suspected to be infected with the new coronavirus were tested for free, others had to conduct paid tests in private clinics while new option allows to take test for anyone wishing.

Later the practice can be expanded to the other Russian regions, as it goes in line with the state policy voiced by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

“We will continue the practice of high-volume public testing […] Such diagnostics must be accessible everywhere and to everyone. There must be an opportunity to take a virus and anti-body test at any time and in case of the slightest doubt. If the disease is detected, the treatment must start as soon as possible,” Mishustin said.

According to his assessments, the situation in Russia is “objectively improving, the country passed the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.

Development of the test systems has been the priority in Russia since the beginning of the pandemic.

Thus far 114 test systems for diagnosing COVID-19 gained approval of the relevant authorities, 794 laboratories work across the country to analyze results of tests taken.

On Thursday, the number of coronavirus cases registered in Russia since the outbreak exceeded 750,000 while death toll neared 12,000 and recoveries passed 530,000.

Since originating in China last December, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed nearly 585,000 lives in 188 countries and regions.

More than 13.57 million cases have been reported worldwide, while over 7.57 million patients have recovered so far, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

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