UPDATED: Putin says Russia should have collective COVID-19 immunity by autumn

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the Russian public should attain collective immunity from COVID-19 by this autumn and called on Russians to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

 “Everyone must have the opportunity to be vaccinated, as this will allow for so-called collective immunity to be developed in the autumn. A solution to this problem lies in our and your hands, in the hands of all citizens. I once again address all Russian citizens with the call: get vaccinated” The Russian President said

Putin was speaking at an annual address to both houses of parliament. 

Russia reported 8,271 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, including 1,988 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 4,727,125.

The government coronavirus task force said 399 people had died of the virus in the past 24 hours, pushing the overall death toll to 106,706.

The federal statistics agency has kept a separate count and has reported a much higher toll of more than 225,000 from April 2020 to February.

Below are some of the highlights of Russian President Vladimir Putin annual state-of-the-nation speech on Wednesday.:

RED LINES

“We want good relations with all participants of the international dialogue. And really, we don’t want to burn bridges. But if someone mistakes our good intentions for indifference or weakness and intends to burn or even blow up these bridges themselves, they should know that Russia’s response will be asymmetrical, swift and harsh.” “We have enough patience, responsibility and common sense to make any decision, but hopefully no one will cross the red line. We will decide for ourselves where this red line will be drawn in each specific case.”

“Organisers of any provocations that threaten our core security interests will regret about what they have done like they’ve never regretted anything for a long time.” WEAPONS TREATIES “It is precisely as a leader in the creation of new generation combat systems, in the development of modern nuclear forces, that Russia once again invites its partners to discuss issues related to strategic armaments, ensuring global stability.” “The primary goal of such talks could be to create an environment of conflict-free coexistence based on an equalization of security that would encompass… all offensive and defensive systems capable of meeting strategic objectives.”

EXPORTS

“We need to significantly simplify conditions for non-commodity exporters… We need to remove all excessive currency control restrictions for these exporters.”

“This procedure should start working this year in July.”

TAXATION

“It looks like we will see record corporate sector profits this year, despite all the challenges we encountered… Let’s see how these profits are spent, and with this in mind we will take some decisions on the possible fine-tuning of tax legislation at the end of the year.”

“Some (companies) withdraw dividends, while others invest in the development of their enterprises and of entire industries. We will encourage those who invest, of course”.

ENVIRONMENT

“I request that passage is sped up of the law making business owners financially liable for the clean-up of accumulated (environmental) damage and for reclamation of sites. The approach is simple: if you make a profit at the expense of nature, you clean up after yourself.”

“We need to introduce a mechanism to extend producers’ and importers’ responsibility for the utilization of goods and packaging this year.”

“In the country’s 12 largest industrial centres, atmospheric emissions must be reduced by 20% by 2024, through a comprehensive modernization of industry, of the housing and utilities sector, of transport and energy.”

“I also propose to expand the system of quotas for harmful emissions, where the issue of air quality is acute, and to establish responsibility for its observance.”

“Accumulated greenhouse gas emissions should be lower than in the European Union.”

COVID-19

“Everyone must have the opportunity to be vaccinated, as this will allow for so-called collective immunity to be developed in the autumn. A solution to this problem lies in our and your hands, in the hands of all citizens. I once again address all Russian citizens with the call: get vaccinated.”

SOCIAL PAY-OUTS

“I propose another one-off payment to families with school-age children – namely 10,000 roubles ($129.87) for all school-age children. And what’s more, to extend this measure to future first-graders – to children who will only start school this year. The payment will be made in mid-August, so that parents will have time to get their children ready for school.”

“It is always difficult to bring up a child in a single-parent family… From July 1 this year, payouts for children aged from 8 to 16 years old, inclusive, growing up in such families, will be provided. This will be at 5,650 roubles on average across the country.”

Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin. EPA-EFE/MICHAEL KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN

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