Coronavirus in Russia: The Latest News | March 18

map russia 18 march

As the new coronavirus that has killed more than 8,400 people continues to spread around the world, Russia has stepped up its measures to tackle the pandemic and prevent its spread within the country.

There have been 147 cases of coronavirus infections reported in Russia so far and zero deaths.

The number of reported cases as of March 18. MT

Below are the latest updates on Russia’s response to the coronavirus:

March 18

— Russia reported 33 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total up to 147 from 114 the previous day and marking a 29% increase. 

— President Vladimir Putin has ordered an April 22 nationwide vote on constitutional amendments, which would allow him to run again for president. He said the vote will be postponed if the coronavirus pandemic requires it. 

— Russian schools will go on a three-week vacation from March 23 to April 12 to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Education Minister Sergei Kravtsov said.

— Russia will limit flights to the United States, Britain and the United Arab Emirates starting Friday, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin ordered.

— Russian prisoners, students and military personnel will produce medical masks and other equipment as the country faces down the coronavirus pandemic, the RBC news website reported.

— Employees of the presidential administration and journalists covering President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming trips are being tested for coronavirus, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

— Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has urged employers to allow their employees to work from home to prevent the spread of infection.

— St. Petersburg has banned events and gatherings with more than 50 attendees as well as all sporting and cultural events.

— The Federal Penitentiary Service said it will indefinitely suspend visits to inmates in pre-trial detention centers and prisons.

— Journalists accredited with foreign media outlets have been barred from the Russian State Duma over the coronavirus, BBC Russian correspondent Pyotr Kozlov said. Journalists from Russian media are still permitted to enter, he added.

— Moscow’s network of facial recognition cameras has detected more than 200 people who violated orders to self-quarantine because they might be infected with the virus, the city’s police chief Oleg Baranov said.

— Russia has closed Bolshevik revolutionary Vladimir Lenin’s tomb on Moscow’s Red Square to the public, the Kremlin guard service said, making it the latest Russian tourist attraction to shut down amid coronavirus fears. The Kremlin wall necropolis, where Soviet leaders such as Josef Stalin are buried, is part of the same tourist experience and will also be closed.

— The annual Eurovision song contest has been canceled due to the uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus epidemic, its organizers announced. Rave-pop band Little Big had been set to represent Russia in this year’s competition, which was scheduled to take place in The Netherlands in May.

March 17

— The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Russia has risen to 114, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said, a 22% increase from Monday. Ten of these infections were transmitted within the country rather than contracted abroad, she added.

— Moscow authorities have denied reports that they will introduce a near-total shutdown of the city to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

— President Vladimir Putin said the situation with the spreading coronavirus is “under control” in the country after infections were “contained.”

— Russia’s embassies and consulates have suspended the processing of documents and issuing of all types of visas, including e-visas, the Foreign Ministry said. The ministry said there are a small number of exceptions, including for diplomats and people attending funerals of close relatives in Russia.

 Football’s 2020 European Championship has been postponed for a year because of the outbreak of the coronavirus, the Norwegian and Swedish FAs said on Tuesday.

— Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s cabinet plans to unveil a slew of new economic and regulatory measures to reduce the coronavirus’ impact on Wednesday, including creating an anti-crisis fund of 300 billion rubles ($4.05 billion) to support Russian citizens and the Russian economy and compensating quarantined citizens, including freelancers and the self-employed, for lost income.

— Ukraine has temporarily closed 107 of its border checkpoints, including those with neighboring Russia, as it seeks to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. Ukraine has registered five cases of coronavirus.

— Russia’s airlines could lose 100 billion rubles ($1.4 billion) due to the coronavirus outbreak and risk going bankrupt, the head of Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, also known as Rosaviatsiya, told Interfax.

— Russia’s Agriculture Ministry has ordered all of Russia’s regions to ready a two-month food supply to prevent shortages.

— The Russian Orthodox Church is instigating an unprecedented list of measures aiming to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in its sacred spaces nationwide, it said in a statement.

— Russia’s Energy Ministry has suspended the majority of its foreign and domestic business trips, with the exception of urgent cases, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Deputy Energy Minister Anastasia Bondarenko said.

— Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied reports that President Vladimir Putin is preparing an address to the nation about the coronavirus.

— Russia’s consumer protection watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, has ordered Russia’s regions to test everyone who has been in Europe in the past two weeks for the coronavirus.

— All football, hockey and basketball games will be suspended in Russia until April 10, the state-run TASS news agency reported, citing a source to Russia’s national leagues. The Russian Football Union confirmed the news.

— Russian tourists in Europe are trapped abroad as flights have been canceled and borders closed due to the coronavirus crisis, a spokeswoman for Russia’s travel industry union told Interfax.

As Russia faces a deadly global epidemic, a constitutional change that could keep the president in power for life and a warming climate, the need for free, independent and objective coverage of Russia has never been greater.

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March 16

— Russia will ban the entry of foreign nationals and stateless people from March 18 to May 1 in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the government said. The ban will not apply to diplomatic representatives, airplane crew members and some other categories of people.

— The number of coronavirus infections in Russia has risen to 93, a 47% increase from the previous day, the state-run TASS news agency reported, citing Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova.

— European Union leaders are considering temporarily banning all non-essential travel into the Schengen borderless travel zone by non-EU citizens, the BBC reported, citing a diplomatic note it obtained.

— Moscow has banned all public events larger than 50 people from now until April 10, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in a new decree. Older citizens are also advised to stay at home.

— From March 21 to April 12, all schools and universities will be closed, Sobyanin said. 

— An Irish citizen has been hospitalized with suspected coronavirus infection in the city of Murmansk in Russia’s Arctic after participating in a chess tournament.

— People entering Russia from the United States, Britain, the European Union, Ukraine, Belarus and all other non-EU countries in Europe — as well as those who live with them — will now be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

— Starting today, coronavirus tests will be available for free in St. Petersburg, city health officials said.

— President Vladimir Putin has ordered the creation of a special working group within the State Council to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Putin put Sobyanin in charge of the new group, which will also include government officials.

— Russia‘s Science and Higher Education Ministry recommended that higher educational institutions switch to distance learning from Monday.

— Russia has closed its border with neighboring Belarus as a “proactive step” to halt the coronavirus’ spread, the state-run TASS news agency quoted Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin as saying.

— A Russian patient has escaped from coronavirus quarantine near Moscow, the hospital’s head physician said Monday. The woman has been detained and returned to the hospital after police found her at her home.

March 15

— Russia registered four more cases of coronavirus, Interfax reported, bringing the total number of infections to 63.

— Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin denied that the authorities are downplaying the numbers of coronavirus patients in the capital.

— The Russian protection watchdog Rospotrebnadzor confirmed the first community transmission of the coronavirus in Russia, RBC reported, but this information was later removed from Rospotrebnadzor’s statement.

— Rospotrebnadzor also said it ran just over 104,000 coronavirus tests since the start of the outbreak while 14,742 people are currently being monitored for coronavirus.

 — A Russian Orthodox Church spokesperson said it will not be closing churches or canceling religious proceedings. 

— Russian Railways announced it would stop international passenger trains from Moscow to Berlin and Paris. Earlier it was announced that train connections to and from Ukraine, Moldova and Latvia will be suspended.

March 14

— Russia has confirmed 14 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 59, the state-run RIA news agency reported. Nine of the new cases are in Moscow, one in the Moscow region, one in St. Petersburg, two in Kemerovo and one in Kaliningrad.

— Moscow’s chief sanitary doctor Elena Andreeva signed a decree on new measures to combat coronavirus, including compulsory hospitalization of patients with atypical course of flu and banning visitors in hospitals, orphanages and boarding schools.

— Russia will close its land borders with Poland and Norway to foreigners in a bid to limit the spread of the new coronavirus, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said in a statement.

— Moscow and the Moscow region will make school attendance optional starting on Monday in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

— Moscow authorities recommended that private schools go on a two-week vacation or switch to online teaching, the RBC news website reported.

March 13

— Russia confirmed 11 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 45, the RBC news website reported, citing the country’s coronavirus crisis center.

— Russia is limiting flights with Europe from Monday to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

— Prominent Russian-Azerbaijani artist Aidan Salakhova says she has been quarantined in a hospital after returning from Italy on a flight that was carrying two people infected with coronavirus. All the passengers on Salakhova’s flight have been placed in hospital quarantine as well.

— Two Russian tourists in Israel have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

— St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region banned events with more than 1,000 people.

— The Kremlin told journalists who cover President Vladimir Putin to stay away from official events if they felt unwell as a precautionary measure to protect Kremlin staff from the coronavirus.

— Polish President Andrzej Duda will not travel to Russia next month due to the coronavirus, missing ceremonies marking the 10-year anniversary of a plane crash which killed Poland’s president, central bank chief and military commanders.

— Russia’s border will temporarily be closed to Italian citizens and foreigners traveling from Italy starting today as Italy continues to grapple with the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe.

March 12

— Russia has confirmed six new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 34, Interfax reported, citing the country’s coronavirus crisis center. Four of the new cases are in Moscow, one in Krasnodar and one in Kaliningrad.

— The Moscow region’s governor has announced a “high alert” status for the region due to the coronavirus, banning all large events over 5,000 people and encouraging companies to allow their employees to telecommute. The remote-working measures do not apply to the city of Moscow, home to 12 million people.

— A joint Russian-European mission to Mars has been postponed for two years, the Russian and European space agencies said Thursday, citing the coronavirus and technical issues.

— 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.

March 11

— 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. 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 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.

March 10

— 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. 

March 9

— 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. 

March 8

—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.

March 7

— Russia confirmed four new cases of coronavirus, taking the total number to 17 — three of whom have since recovered. 

March 6

— 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.

March 5

—Russia canceled its flagship annual St Petersburg International Economic Forum this year as a precaution against coronavirus. 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 dormitory 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.

March 4

— 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. 

March 3

— The Moscow metro has begun random checks of passengers’ temperatures at station entrances, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said

March 2

— 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.

Feb. 28

— 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.

Feb. 27

— 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.

Feb. 26

— 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.

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Feb. 24

— Nearly all of the 25 Ukrainian nationals onboard the quarantined ship have refused to be evacuated to their home country after violent protests against coronavirus evacuees broke out there.

Feb. 21

— 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.

Feb. 20

— 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.

Feb. 19

— 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.

Feb. 12

— 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.

Feb. 10

— The coronavirus outbreak may delay Russia’s delivery of S-400 air defense systems to China, the state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport said.

Feb. 9

— Authorities in the Chelyabinsk region 1,500 kilometers east of Moscow walked back plans to set up a quarantine center after local residents formed a human shield to prevent entry to Chinese nationals.

Feb. 6

— The Kremlin has started checking the body temperatures of individuals attending events with President Vladimir Putin as a “precautionary measure,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

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Feb. 3

— 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.

Feb. 2

— State-run Russian Railways said it would halt passenger trains to China, including the Beijing-Moscow route, until further notice.

Jan. 31

— 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 and AFP contributed reporting to this article.


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