Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Russia continues to impose measures to stem the spread of COVID-19, as of May 27. Some restrictions to ease in Moscow from June 1.

This alert affects Russia

This alert began 28 May 2020 00:33 GMT and is scheduled to expire 12 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Authorities in Russia continue to impose measures, as of May 27, to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Officials in Moscow will ease additional restrictions from June 1, reopening city parks and green areas, and allowing all residents, including those over the age of 65 and those with chronic illnesses, to leave their homes for walks and sporting activities. Residents will be allowed three walks a week 0900-2100, based on a rotating schedule which authorities have yet to finalize; passes are no longer required, but residents have to carry proper identification documents when outdoors. Residents can engage in any amount of sporting activities in the morning until 0900 daily; they are encouraged to stay within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from their homes and are required to practice social distancing and wear masks when outdoors. Additionally, authorities in Moscow will allow car-dealerships, nonessential shops, dry-cleaners, laundry, clothing repair, and other household services to restart operations from June 1. Sporting facilities and stadiums can also reopen for professional athletes.

Previously, authorities in Moscow and Saint Petersburg allowed industrial and construction work to proceed as of May 12. Other regions also took steps to ease the lockdowns. Small shops, gas stations, and some fresh produce markets have been allowed to reopen in some areas, including in 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 required to wear face masks in public.

Other restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 remain in place nationwide. 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 varying infection rates throughout the country, numerous regions have maintained lockdowns and other preventive measures. Although restrictions vary slightly from region to region, authorities have mostly prohibited residents 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.

Entry and exit to Chechnya remain prohibited and limited for Udmurtia, where all large cities are closed for quarantine. Residents can travel to Kamchatka and Krasnodar only with a special pass.

Any 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.

Advice
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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