In a shocking turn of events, Russia n President Vladimir Putin intends to recruit the army in the fight against Coronavirus. This development took place after Russia reported its record highest increase in daily cases on Monday, with 2588 new cases being reported in a single day. Putin had already ordered an inspection on March 25-28 into the troops’ readiness for a mass infection and commanded them to carry out drills to fight COVID-19 if necessary.
The Russia ‘s Defence Ministry and the Army have already contributed a significant amount of resources to the fight, having played a part in sending doctors and medical equipment to the worst affected areas in Italy and Syria. The idea of military involvement isn’t as outlandish as it appears on first glance, as the Russian military has specialist medical units and nuclear, biological and chemical protection troops, consisting of 1000 servicemen (so far) and 200 kits of specialised equipment.
Apart from the contribution of resources, the Russian military plans to take the following steps to fight the virus:
- The military is planning to establish 16 small medical centres spread across the country from the western by May 15.
- The specialised units carried out anti-epidemic drills in seven regions. In Russia’s western military district, the military police used drones to rehearse quarantine measures, protection units identified epicentres of simulated infections and engineers practised water treatment and soil removal. In Russia’s central military district, the units practised isolating four training grounds designated as infected areas as part of the drills scenario.
- National Guard troops were filmed patrolling the streets of Moscow to enforce stay-home orders for the city’s elderly residents.
Russia’s ingenious use and deployment of the military should inspire others to devise ingenious methods to involve various wings of their own government in this battle. It is clearly time for countries to use every last resource at their disposal to fight what could prove to be the biggest threat of this century.