Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Russia extend preventive measures nationwide through April 30 to stem spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This alert affects Russia

This alert began 03 Apr 2020 12:27 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 30
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

Summary
President Vladimir Putin announced April 2, the extension of an official "non-work period" and various preventive measures across Russia through April 30 to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). All non-essential businesses will remain closed through April 30. Public offices, public utility services, public transport, medical facilities, pharmacies, grocery stores, and financial institutions have been deemed essential and will continue to operate. Putin also empowered regional governors to unilaterally enact and impose preventive measures given the size of the country and that some regions are yet to report local transmission of COVID-19. Accordingly, the governor of Chechnya has imposed a nightly curfew 2000-0800; it is unclear when the restriction will be lifted. Additionally, Chechnya's administrative borders will be closed to non-residents from April 5; freight vehicles, security forces, officials and emergency personnel will likely be exempt from this restriction.

Regional authorities in Russia previously introduced region-wide stay-at-home orders and self-isolation regimes in efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Affected regions include Adygea Republic, Altai Kray, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Belgorod Oblast, Chechnya, Chuvashia, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Irkutsk Oblast, Kabardino-Balkaria, Kaliningrad Oblast, Kamchatka Kray, Karachay-Cherkessia, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Kursk Oblast, Leningrad Oblast (including Saint Petersburg), Lipetsk Oblast, Mari El Republic, Moscow Oblast (including Moscow), Murmansk Oblast, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, North Ossetia-Alania, Novgorod Oblast, Novosibirsk Oblast, Republic of Mordovia, Ryazan Oblast, Republic of Tatarstan, Sakha Republic (including Yakutsk), Saratov Oblast, Smolensk Oblast, Stavropol Kray, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Ulyanov Oblast, Volgograd Oblast, and Vologda Oblast. Although the restrictions vary slightly from region to region, residents are largely prohibited from leaving their homes. Exceptions include visits to grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, government offices, and healthcare facilities. Emergency services personnel, security forces personnel, healthcare workers, public utility workers, and workers in essential services and industries are exempt from the restrictions.

Since March 30, authorities suspended entry to the country through numerous ports of entry, including overland border crossings, rail crossings, river ports, and sea ports. The suspension will not apply to Russian diplomats or to cargo transporters. Regular and charter flights between Russian and foreign airports have been indefinitely suspended since March 25. Russian rail authorities announced a significant reduction in high-speed and long-distance services from April 7.

All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days. Failure to comply with these restrictions could result in a fine or imprisonment.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the Russian government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days 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.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int