On Sunday, April 19, health authorities reported Russia's largest daily increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, with 6060 new cases confirmed over a 24-hour period. There have now been 42,853 COVID-19 cases confirmed nationwide and 313 associated deaths, according to the Russian coronavirus crisis response center.
On Monday, April 13, authorities in Moscow began issuing digital travel permits to residents in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. The permits consist of a unique code, obtained by email or print, and will allow residents to travel to their approved destinations. Authorities have issued 8000 permits so far, with the system coming into effect as of Wednesday, April 15; the permits will last through the end of April. Police, city officials, journalists, and other select groups are exempt from having to hold permits when traveling.
The current nationwide public paid holiday remains in effect until Thursday, April 30. President Vladimir Putin has called for all nonessential businesses to remain closed and for workers to receive their normal salaries during the holiday period. However, the president also stated that regional authorities will be allowed to determine which companies and organizations will continue to operate, depending on the situation. People are being asked to follow self-isolation rules and other restrictions.
Regional leaders remain responsible for implementing other COVID-19 containment measures. On Friday, April 3, the Russian region of Chechnya introduced an overnight curfew. The movement of people and vehicles will be banned from 20:00 to 08:00 (local time) each night. The region also suspended its road, rail, and air transport links with the rest of Russia on Sunday, April 5.
In Saint Petersburg, individuals over 65 are prohibited from leaving their homes and will be provided with cash and medicine. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has also implemented movement restrictions in the capital, prohibiting individuals from leaving their homes except for essential needs and work-related reasons. 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 (4.9 ft) away from other people in the streets, shops, public transport, and other public spaces.
Russia's land and maritime borders remain closed at all vehicle, rail, and pedestrian checkpoints; Russian diplomats and freight truck drivers are exempt from the measures. All flights except for repatriation flights are suspended. 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, have reduced or suspended domestic services through late May.
Further international spread of COVID-19 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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