Moscow bans all regular & charter flights starting March 27, except those bringing Russians home – and other Covid-19 news

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© Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov

As part of measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Russian government is shutting down all regular and charter international flights from Friday. The only exception will be for those repatriating its citizens.

No resumption date has been published, so far, and the suspension will not apply to cargo routes.

The cabinet also requested that the Foreign Ministry assist Russian citizens abroad until their return home. Russian embassies around the world will receive additional funds to provide support.

So far, 652 Covid-19 cases have been registered in Russia, with more than half of those infected in Moscow.

The ban on flights is yet another step taken by Russia to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The highly-contagious disease has already killed over 21,000 people around the globe, with more than 470,000 infected. Italy, Spain, Iran, and the US are among the most heavily affected countries, while China, where the virus originated, is seeing positive results in its fight against the disease.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a week-long paid holiday for workers. The president said there is no feasible way to keep the coronavirus out, but vowed that everything will be done to minimize the damage.

Russia had already banned public gatherings of more than 50 people, closed cinemas, fitness clubs, and other establishments. In Moscow, elderly people, for whom the infection is the most dangerous, were urged to remain in their homes.

Comment: The city of Moscow has shut down all non-essential shops and restaurants. The new total of Russian cases is 840. One Russian government employee has been quarantined after possibly contracting the virus. Russian experts are warning that self-isolation may lead to more domestic violence and crime. Putin has recommended ‘green corridors‘ of sanctions-free trade to the G20, and warned that the key risk currently is unemployment. The WHO agrees with the Kremlin that it’s too early to introduce strict quarantine measures in Russia. Russia’s military/medical convoy is currently making their 600km trek through Italy to Bergamo – their primary mission is decontamination.
Johns Hopkins says confirmed cases of Covid-19 have passed 500,000. (Germany: 4,954 new cases, 49 deaths; Iran: 157 new deaths, total 2,234; Spain: 4,000 total deaths alleged to be Covid-related; U.S.: 1,000 deaths; France: almost 4,000 new cases in one day, 365 deaths.) China – despite recording no new locally-contracted cases – has drastically reduced international flights to prevent imported cases, and barred foreigners from entering the country. Iran banned all internal travel between cities. The U.S. military confirmed their first case within the Pentagon after a Marine tested positive. The U.S. Senate finally passed the $2 trillion relief bill, which is now headed to the House.

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