Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Russia continues to impose measures to stem the spread of COVID-19, as of May 14. Some restrictions eased in Moscow, Saint Petersburg.

This alert affects Russia

This alert began 14 May 2020 13:25 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

Authorities in Russia continue to impose measures, as of May 14, to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). While authorities in Moscow and Saint Petersburg have allowed industrial and construction work to proceed, as of May 12, numerous restrictions have been extended to May 31. Self-isolation regimes remain in force until May 31, and nonessential stores remain closed. Residents must also obtain an electronic permit to be outside their homes. Additionally, face masks and gloves are mandatory in stores and on public transport, including taxis.

Several other regions have taken steps to ease lockdowns in recent days. Small shops, gas stations, and some fresh produce markets have been allowed to reopen in some regions, including Belgorod Oblast, Ivanovo Oblast, Kostroma Oblast, Murmansk Oblast, Novosibirsk Oblast, Oryol Oblast, Omsk Oblast, Republic of Tartarstan, Republic of Chechnya, and Tomsk Oblast. Social distancing rules remain in place in these regions, and residents are now required to wear face masks in public.

The nationwide "nonwork period" concluded May 11; however, numerous measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 remain in place. All entry to the country via overland border crossings, rail crossings, river ports, and seaports, has been suspended; freight transporters and Russian diplomats are exempt. Regular and charter flights between Russian and foreign airports have been suspended indefinitely since March 25. There has been a significant reduction in high-speed and long-distance rail services from April 7. All public mass events remain suspended nationwide. Public offices, public utility services, public transport, medical facilities, pharmacies, grocery stores, and financial institutions have been deemed essential and continue to operate. Emergency services personnel, security forces personnel, healthcare workers, public utility workers, and workers in essential services and industries are exempt from the restrictions.

Given the widely varied infection rates throughout the country, numerous regions have maintained lockdowns and other preventive measures. Although restrictions vary slightly from region to region, residents are largely prohibited from leaving their homes, except to perform essential functions. Affected regions include Adygea, Altai Kray, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Bashkortostan, Chuvashia, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Irkutsk Oblast, Kabardino-Balkaria, Kaliningrad Oblast, Kamchatka Kray, Karachay-Cherkessia, Kemerovo Oblast, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Kursk Oblast, Lipetsk Oblast, Mari El Republic, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, North Ossetia-Alania, Novgorod Oblast, Mordovia, Orenburg Oblast, Ryazan Oblast, Sakha Republic (including Yakutsk), Saratov Oblast, Smolensk Oblast, Stavropol Kray, Saratov Oblast, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Udmurt Republic, Ulyanov Oblast, Volgograd Oblast, and Vologda Oblast.

Additionally, the cities of Abdulino (Orenburg Oblast) and Makhachkala (Republic of Dagestan) have restricted entry and exit; freight vehicles, security forces, officials, and emergency personnel will likely be exempt from this restriction. Authorities in Bashkortostan have also imposed a regionwide 1800-1300 curfew on children and an 1800-1000 curfew on persons over the age of 65. The regions of Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk, Tyumen, and Irkutsk have each introduced a 14-day mandatory self-isolation policy for all persons arriving by air from Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Any such restrictions may be extended or amended with little-to-no advance notice. Failure to comply with these restrictions could result in a fine or imprisonment.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the Russian government are similar to actions taken by other regional governments in recent months in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV2-virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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