Russian health authorities reported on Saturday, May 16, the highest number of daily coronavirus disease (COVID-19) related deaths to date, with 119 deaths recorded over a 24 hour period. This increase brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 associated fatalities to 2537 and a total of 272,043 confirmed cases in the country.
Self-isolation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the capital Moscow are in place until at least Sunday, May 31. Residents are required to wear gloves and masks on public transportation, as well as in stores, shopping malls, and when taking taxis. Workers who currently hold digital travel permits will have their permits automatically extended to May 31. Restaurants, theaters, sports facilities, and nonessential businesses will remain closed.
COVID-19 restrictions were eased in other Russian regions from Tuesday, May 12. During the first stage, individuals have been permitted to go outside for walking and exercise purposes. During the second stage of easing, educational establishments and some service-sector businesses will return to operation, while the final stage will allow for the reopening of recreational facilities such as parks and squares. However, the two latter stages will be subject to review once an assessment of the impact of the first stage has been completed.
A ban on the entry of foreign nationals has been extended indefinitely. Exceptions will be made for foreign national specialists in critical industries. Russia's land and maritime borders remain closed to all vehicle, rail, and pedestrian traffic; Russian diplomats and freight truck drivers are exempt from these measures. Except for repatriation flights, all flights are suspended, 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 until late May.
Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
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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