Saint Petersburg officials announced that as of Monday, March 30, individuals over 65 will be prohibited from leaving their homes to prevent further spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The affected individuals will be provided with cash and medicine. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin previously announced that starting on March 30, individuals in the capital will be prohibited from leaving their homes except for essential needs and work-related reasons. According to media reports, additional lockdown measures may be implemented at regional and local levels in Russia. Individuals in Russia are therefore advised to check with their local authorities if any restrictive measures have been implemented near their place of residence. Russia recorded its biggest daily rise in COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, March 31, with more than 500 confirmed cases in a 24-hour period.
On Saturday, March 28, the Russian government ordered the closure of Russia's land and maritime borders. The measure applies to all vehicle, rail, and pedestrian checkpoints; Russian diplomats and freight truck drivers are exempt from the measures.
On Wednesday, March 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a series of measures to contain the virus. A week-long paid national holiday has been declared between Saturday, March 28, and Sunday, April 5, during which all nonessential work will be suspended. Hospitals, emergency services, medical services, banks, pharmacies, and stores will remain open. All restaurants and cafes will be closed with the exception of delivery services. Individuals are also instructed to stay at least 1.5 m away from other people in the streets, shops, public transport, and other public spaces.
The government additionally announced that all flights except for repatriation flights will be suspended nationwide starting Friday, March 27. Most foreign nationals are prohibited from entering the country until Friday, 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 through late May.
As of Wednesday, April 1, there are 2777 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Russia, including 24 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.
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.
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.