As the new coronavirus that has killed more than 4,000 people continues to spread around the world, Russia has stepped up measures to tackle the pandemic, including closing most entry points along its 4,200-kilometer border with China, ordering people returning from high-risk areas to self-quarantine and temporarily banning Chinese citizens from entering the country.
There have been 28 cases of coronavirus infections reported in Russia so far.
Below are the latest updates on Russia’s response to the coronavirus:
— A religious procession in central Russia aimed at fighting the coronavirus has been canceled due to the threat of the virus itself.
— About 100 Chinese students in Moscow will be deported from Russia because they violated their self-quarantine orders, the Kommersant business daily reported.
— Russian scientists say they have developed a device that can test for coronavirus in 15 minutes, the state-run TASS news agency reported. The device could be made available to consumers as early as this autumn.
— State Duma lawmaker Sergei Katasonov did not self-quarantine after returning from France and was present at work for several days before his colleagues told him to go home, libertarian party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has said. Zhirinovsky, who leads the party Katasonov belongs to, proposed stripping him of his parliamentary powers as punishment.
— The World Health Organization declared that the coronavirus is a pandemic as the number of cases worldwide surpassed 112,000 in 114 different countries.
— Russia will suspend most flights to and from Italy, Germany, France and Spain over the coronavirus outbreak, starting from Friday, Russia’s coronavirus crisis center said in a statement. Russia will also stop issuing tourist visas to Italian citizens to prevent a spread of the virus, the center said.
— The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Russia rose to 28 from 20 on Wednesday and all the people tested positive in the last day had previously traveled to Italy, according to the coronavirus crisis center’s statement.
— Moscow has banned large events of more than 5,000 people until April 10 in a move to prevent the spread of the virus, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in a decree. The ban applies to “sports, entertainment, public and other mass events,” the decree says. Critics accused the city of using the health crisis as an excuse to prevent people from protesting President Vladimir Putin’s constitutional reforms that could allow him to stay in power past his term limit.
— Thailand has suspended visas on arrival for citizens of 18 countries including Russia in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
— State Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy is isolating himself in self-quarantine after returning to Moscow from Paris, he wrote on Facebook, adding that he is “completely healthy” and will work from home.
— Russia’s Defense Ministry has canceled the Moscow International Security Conference due to the threat of coronavirus, the RBC news website reported. The defense and international affairs conference, which would have been attended by more than 1,000 delegates from 115 countries, had been scheduled for April 22-23.
— Russia‘s consumer safety watchdog recommended that people avoid public transport, shopping malls and other public places at rush hour as a precaution against the coronavirus, the state-run RIA news agency reported.
“Refrain from visiting public places: shopping centers, sports and entertainment events and transport during rush hour,” the Rospotrebnadzor watchdog was quoted as saying.
— Another three people in Moscow have been diagnosed with coronavirus overnight, the RBC news website reported, citing a report from city officials it obtained. The three individuals had recently visited Italy.
—Moscow city authorities threatened prison terms of up to five years for people failing to self-isolate in their homes for two weeks after visiting countries hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.
— Russia confirmed four new cases of coronavirus, taking the total number to 17 — three of whom have since recovered.
— Russia has reported six new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, including five in Moscow and one in Nizhny Novgorod 400 kilometers east of the capital. All six cases were contracted in Italy, one of several virus hubs outside China, the authorities said.
— Russian officials have conducted more than 51,000 tests for the coronavirus nationwide, the consumer protection watchdog said.
— Seven Russian passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship who were placed in a two-week quarantine in Russia’s Far East have been discharged. Two other quarantined patients are awaiting test results.
— Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced a “high alert regime,” ordering self-isolation for Russians returning from China, South Korea, Iran, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
—Russia canceled its flagship annual St Petersburg International Economic Forum this year as a precaution against coronavirus, the Interfax news agency cited First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov as saying. The forum, usually chaired by President Vladimir Putin, was due to be held in St. Petersburg on June 3-6.
—Russia‘s state carrier Aeroflot said it would suspend its flights to and from Hong Kong amid fears over coronavirus. The airline will continue flying from Moscow to Hong Kong until March 7 and from Hong Kong to Moscow until March 8, after which those services will be suspended.
— Moscow authorities have drafted an emergency plan that envisions a near shutdown of the Russian capital in case of a coronavirus outbreak.
— Officials confirmed a seventh coronavirus infection in the country. The patient is an Italian citizen who had arrived to Russia on Feb. 29, asked for medical help on March 2 and tested positive for the virus. He is being treated at an undisclosed hospital.
— Russian businesses have started to cancel foreign business trips and participation in international conferences after a recommendation from the Health Ministry to restrict foreign travel.
— Students at a university dormitary in St. Petersburg have been placed under quarantine and prohibited from leaving the building after the hospitalization of an Italian exchange student who had been living there. The number of patients in the city that are being monitored for coronavirus symptoms has nearly doubled to 44 people.
— Two Russian citizens have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in the United Arab Emirates, the country’s health ministry said.
— Russia has temporarily banned the export of medical masks, gloves, bandages and protective suits.
— President Vladimir Putin said that fake news reports about coronavirus were being sent to Russia from abroad to spread panic. He urged the government to ensure that citizens were correctly informed about the situation in Russia.
— Russian gas giant Gazprom has suspended foreign trips for its staff due to the coronavirus outbreak, a company spokesman said.
— The Moscow metro has begun random checks of passengers’ temperatures at station entrances, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said.
— A Russian national who was quarantined in a Moscow hospital after recently returning from northern Italy, a hub for the coronavirus outbreak, has the coronavirus. The man, 29-year-old Moscow resident David Berov, is the first known Russian national to test positive for coronavirus while in the country.
— The impact of coronavirus on the Russian economy will be deeper than originally expected, Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said. The ruble’s depreciation and stock market decline have gained momentum since mid-February due to the fast-spreading coronavirus and concerns about its economic impact, which sent oil prices crashing.
— Schools across Moscow have canceled swimming classes and large-scale events to prevent the spread of the flu and respiratory infections, the city’s education officials said in a Feb. 28 letter cited by Interfax.
— Moscow authorities are deporting 88 foreign nationals who violated quarantine measures imposed on them as a precaution against coronavirus, the state-run RIA news agency cited Moscow’s deputy mayor as saying.
— A Russian citizen has tested positive with coronavirus in Azerbaijan after arriving there from Iran, Interfax reported. It marks the fourth case of coronavirus among Russian citizens and the first infection in Azerbaijan.
— The Russian government temporarily barred Iranian citizens from entering Russia and said it would also restrict the entry of South Korean citizens from March 1 as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus, decrees published online showed.
— The government also said it would not allow in any foreign citizens traveling from Iran or South Korea, and ordered the Foreign Ministry to suspend the issue of visas to Iranian citizens.
— Russia will suspend its train service from Moscow to the southern French city of Nice starting March 4, the state-run TASS news agency reported, citing the Transport Ministry. The ministry said the train link would be suspended until further notice as part of wider measures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus in Russia.
— Moscow authorities have identified 88 people who violated the city’s self-isolation orders after returning from China, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said. The Russian capital deployed its facial recognition network to enforce the quarantine.
— Russia has developed five prototypes for a coronavirus vaccine, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said.
— Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency recommended national tour operators suspend tours to Italy, South Korea and Iran until the outbreaks of coronavirus there are brought under control.
— Moscow will suspend flights between Russia and South Korea from March 1 over coronavirus fears, except those operated by Aeroflot and Aurora, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said.
— Golikova said Russia would also stop issuing visas to some Iranian citizens from Feb. 28 and was advising Russians against traveling to Italy.
— Other restrictions related to the outbreak which have been previously announced will be extended by one month to April 1, Golikova said.
— The Chinese Embassy in Russia has asked Moscow authorities to stop the profiling of Chinese nationals on the city’s public transport. According to Novaya Gazeta, the embassy’s letter said that Moscow police and subway workers had begun questioning passengers believed to be Chinese to check for signs of coronavirus, something that isn’t being done anywhere else in the world.
— Two Russian citizens are among the hundreds of tourists being quarantined in a seaside resort on Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, after an Italian doctor who was staying there tested positive for coronavirus, Interfax reported.
— Around 2,500 people arriving from China have been ordered placed under quarantine for the coronavirus and monitored by the Russian capital’s facial-recognition technology, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said.
— Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told the RBC news website that the coronavirus had caused a drop in Chinese trade with Russia of 1 billion rubles ($15.68 million) a day.
— Two Russian citizens from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship were diagnosed with the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected Russian nationals to three.
— Russia’s ban on the entry of Chinese citizens to its territory has gone into effect. The temporary suspension will be for Chinese citizens entering Russia for employment, private, educational and tourist purposes.
— The 144 Russians evacuated from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China have left a quarantine area in Siberia’s Tyumen region following a 14-day quarantine.
— Russia discharged a Chinese national from the hospital in the Siberian city of Chita after he recovered from coronavirus infection, the second of Russia’s first two confirmed cases of coronavirus to recover.
— Russia will temporarily restrict the entry of foreigners arriving from China, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said. She said the restrictions would not apply to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, the capital’s main international airport.
— Russia’s second-largest food retailer Magnit said it is suspending fruit and vegetable imports from China due to the spread of the coronavirus and logistical complications.
— State-run Russian Railways said it would halt passenger trains to China, including the Beijing-Moscow route, until further notice.
— In addition to observing personal hygiene, the consumer protection watchdog advised against loose hair, as well as kissing and hugging in public.
— Russian state lender VTB said it has temporarily suspended all business trips by its employees to China and several other Asian countries.
Reuters contributed reporting to this article.
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