Russian media reports say that President Vladimir Putin has said the military could be deployed to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak, after the number of cases in the country rose sharply.

He told government ministers that all the capabilities of the Russian military can and should be used.

"We see that the situation is changing almost daily and, unfortunately, it is not changing for the better," Putin said during a video meeting with top officials on April 13.

"The number of sick people is increasing, including more and more cases specifically of the severe form of the disease.  The next few weeks will be decisive in many respects," he added.

He also pointed to other European countries, such as Italy, that have utilized the military in their response to the Covid-19 crisis.

"We need to use this experience," he said. "The capabilities of the Russian Defense Ministry, if necessary, can and should be used here."

Lockdown measures have been introduced in Moscow and several other regions.  People have been told to stay at home unless there is an essential reason for them to go out.

Moscow, which is the worst-hit area, has introduced an electronic system that issues permits to people who need to leave their homes.