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26 Mar 2020 | 12:33 AM UTC

Russia: New coronavirus containment measures announced March 25 /update 19

President Vladimir Putin announces new measures to contain the spread of coronavirus on March 25; all flights except for repatriation flights suspended from March 27

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RUS

Event

On Wednesday, March 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a series of new measures to prevent further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. A week-long paid national holiday has been declared between Saturday, March 28, and Sunday, April 5. All non-essential work will be suspended and workers will receive paid leave. Hospitals, emergency services, medical services, banks, pharmacies, and stores will remain open. Putin also announced debt relief for impacted individuals and the automatic extension of social welfare payments for six months. The government also announced on Thursday, March 26, that all flights except for repatriation flights will be suspended nationwide from Friday, March 27.

Other containment efforts remain in place as of Wednesday. All nightclubs, cinemas, and children's play areas have been closed and gatherings of over 50 people are banned. Most foreign nationals are prohibited from entering the country until May 1 and all individuals arriving in Russia from abroad are subject to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. Russian Railways and its subsidiary, Federal Passenger Company, are reducing or suspending domestic services between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow and Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Kazan, Irkutsk and Zabaikalsk, and Belgorod and Moscow through late May.

To date, there have been more than 658 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Russia, including at least three associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.