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26 mars 2020 | 11h34 UTC

Russia: Local officials close non-essential businesses in Moscow March 26 /update 20

Russia Alerte de sécurité

Local officials close non-essential businesses in Moscow due to COVID-19 March 26; follow authority directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 25/3/2020, 11h00 until 5/4/2020, 10h59 (Europe/Moscow). COUNTRY/REGION Russia

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On Thursday, March 26, Moscow's mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced that most shops including restaurants, cafés, and bars will be closed except for essential businesses, such as grocery stores or pharmacies, to prevent further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Restaurants will be able to serve food only for takeaway services. All public events have also been prohibited, and free public transport for individuals over 65 suspended. The restrictions will be in effect from Saturday, March 28, to Sunday, April 5.

On Wednesday, March 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin previously announced a series of new measures to contain the virus. A week-long paid national holiday has been declared between March 28 and 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 that all flights except for repatriation flights will be suspended nationwide starting Friday, March 27.

Other containment efforts remain in place as of March 26. 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 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 between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow and Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Kazan, Irkutsk and Zabaikalsk, and Belgorod and Moscow through late May.

As of March 26, there are 840 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Russia, including three 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.


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