The mayor of Moscow said the outbreak in the Russian capital was much worse than official figures showed.
The comments, by Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, marked the strongest statement yet by Russian authorities suggesting they do not have a full grasp of how widely the coronavirus has spread throughout the world"s largest country by territory.
Russia has so far reported more then 650 cases of the virus, a figure that is much lower than in many European countries.
Vladimer Putin previously said the situation is under control, but some doctors have questioned how far official data reflects reality, a point taken up by Sobyanin.
“A serious situation is unfolding”, - Sobyanin told Putin at a meeting, saying the real number of cases was unclear but that they were increasing quickly.
Testing for the virus was at a low level, he said, and many people in the capital were self-isolating at their apartments or at homes in the countryside and not being tested after returning from trips abroad: “In reality there are significantly more of those who are sick”.