Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Russia extend coronavirus-related restrictions nationwide through May 11, in Moscow through May 13.

This alert affects Russia

This alert began 28 Apr 2020 17:57 GMT and is scheduled to expire 13 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 13
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

President Vladimir Putin announced April 28 that the nation's official "non-work period" has been extended until May 11 in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The lockdown in Moscow, on the other hand, which requires residents to obtain an electronic permit from the city's official website to be outside their homes, has been extended until May 13. Russia's presidential cabinet is examining possible scenarios for easing restrictions from May 12.

All nonessential businesses will remain closed through May 11. Public offices, public utility services, public transport, medical facilities, pharmacies, grocery stores, and financial institutions have been deemed essential and will continue to operate. All entry to the country via overland border crossings, rail crossings, river ports, and seaports, has been suspended; Russian diplomats and freight transporters are exempt. Regular and charter flights between Russian and foreign airports have been indefinitely suspended since March 25. There has been a significant reduction in high-speed and long-distance rail services from April 7.

Putin also empowered regional governors to unilaterally impose preventive measures, given the size of the country and widely varied infection rates between regions. Accordingly, regional authorities have introduced region-wide stay-at-home orders and self-isolation regimes. Affected regions include Adygea, Altai Kray, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Bashkortostan, Belgorod Oblast, Chechnya, Chuvashia, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Irkutsk Oblast, Kabardino-Balkaria, Kaliningrad Oblast, Kamchatka Kray, Karachay-Cherkessia, Kemerovo Oblast, 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, Mordovia, Orenburg Oblast, Ryazan Oblast, Tatarstan, Sakha Republic (including Yakutsk), Saratov Oblast, Smolensk Oblast, Stavropol Kray, Saratov Oblast, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Udmurt Republic, Ulyanov Oblast, Volgograd Oblast, and Vologda Oblast.

Although 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. Additionally, authorities in Chechnya have imposed a nightly curfew 2000-0800 and limited entry to and exit from the region; freight vehicles, security forces, officials and emergency personnel will likely be exempt from this restriction. Entry to and exit from the cities of Abdulino (Orenburg Oblast) and Makhachkala (Republic of Dagestan) is similarly prohibited. Authorities in Bashkortostan have also imposed a region-wide 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 further or otherwise 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 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.

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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