Russia arrests doctor for giving out masks against coronavirus

Dr. Anastasia Vasilyeva argued publicly that the true figures of Russian citizens infected with the virus are much higher than the official numbers.

A warning sign made of balloons is on display outside a closed cafe, after the city authorities announced a partial lockdown ordering residents to stay at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Moscow, Russia March 30, 2020. (photo credit: MAXIM SHEMETOV/REUTERS)
A warning sign made of balloons is on display outside a closed cafe, after the city authorities announced a partial lockdown ordering residents to stay at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Moscow, Russia March 30, 2020.
(photo credit: MAXIM SHEMETOV/REUTERS)
Police arrested the head of Russia's Alliance of Doctors trade union, Dr. Anastasia Vasilyeva, for distributing medical gear to medical workers in hospitals in the region of Novgorod on Friday, Channel 12 reported.  
Vasilyeva was arrested for allegedly violating the restrictions on travel imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.    
She is known as a dissident and for claiming the official figures provided by the Kremlin are lower than the real number of coronavirus patients and victims in Russia.  
"While the whole world is facing an outbreak of a new coronavirus, Russia is facing an outbreak of a community-acquired pneumonia," Vasilyeva said. "And as usual, we're facing the lie of the authorities," she said according to Business Insider on March 20.  
Russia is currently sending medical staff and gear to other countries, such as Italy, Serbia, and the US. 
Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that it is "not practical" to shut down Russia's economy because of the COVID-19 outbreak.