Russian President Vladimir Putin visited on Tuesday patients receiving treatment for coronavirus in a hospital in Moscow.
He toured the facility, including the wards, wearing a special protective suit.
Putin thanked the hospital's head physician, Denis Protsenko, on how things were progressing, saying it operated "like clockwork, a well-oiled machine."
"I could see how seriously ill patients are being cared for, with three specialists working on one patient at once," he said.
"It is wonderful to see patients who are getting better and returning to normal life. They owe it largely to you. Sometimes, I know this for myself; you just need to know how to organize work properly. You have done it. This is a good example of how to go about this kind of work."
Protsenko said the course of the epidemic in Russia could go either the Asian way, where the spread of the virus was subsiding, or the Italian way with a growing infection rate.
He offered to prepare for the Italian scenario, saying Moscow was already moving in that direction.
"If we suddenly shift to the Chinese or Korean scenario and it all ends in April or May, I think this would make our doctors happier than anybody. Still, I think we need to be ready to face a worst-case scenario," he said.
After the visit, Putin held a meeting with the Cabinet, where a decision was made to close cinemas, night clubs and hookah lounges across the country.
At least 495 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Russia, with 290 cases in the capital alone.