23:59 GMT03 April 2020
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    Coronavirus Outbreak Turns Into Pandemic (233)

    While people in Russia have been advised to practice social distancing as necessary, the authorities have also moved to shut down borders and to bolster the healthcare system's response to the infection.

    As the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak first reared its head in China's Wuhan, Russian authorities wasted little time in taking precautions, limiting the flow of traffic across the border between the two countries.

    But as the outbreak eventually transformed into the full-fledged global pandemic, Moscow proceeded to enact a more extensive array of measures aimed at protecting Russia against this calamity.

    Here's a brief list of steps taken by the Russian authorities to combat the coronavirus threat.

    Border Control

    Since the source of the outbreak was located abroad, the first logical move was to tighten controls on borders with the countries where the infection was running rampant.

    As the COVID-19 situation in the world deteriorated, the authorities also opted to bar most foreign nationals from entering the country, and to impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine for everyone arriving in Russia from abroad.


    Russian nationals returning from the countries where cases of COVID-19 were confirmed, were advised to stay at home upon their return for two weeks (the incubation period of this particular strain of coronavirus).

    Medical Response

    The Russian healthcare system and medical personnel were quick to mobilize in order to meet the new threat, mass producing and distributing coronavirus test kits and stockpiling medicine and protective gear.

    The Russian government also moved to provide monetary incentives to the doctors, nurses and paramedics engaged in the coronavirus response, and to streamline the process of providing paid sick leave for the people who require it.

    Social Distancing

    In order to further lower the potential risk of infection, the government advised citizens to limit their contacts.

    Many organizations and companies in Russia also moved to facilitate their employees' ability to work remotely, thus decreasing their necessity to commute.

    Other measures include the cancellation of sports events and festivals, and switching to remote education for high school and college students.

    Local authorities in Moscow also imposed a ban on mass indoor gatherings involving more than 50 people, though these restrictions apparently do not apply to shops and eateries; so far, the majority of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country were detected in the Russian capital.

    WHO Opinion

    As Melita Vujnovic, WHO Representative to Russia, explained, Russian health authorities "have been implementing WHO recommendations, intensive communication, active case finding and contact tracing".

    Vujnovic noted these measures are warranted by the fact that so far, all COVID-19 cases in Russia "have a confirmed history of travel or contact with a sick person", adding that other recommended steps include "necessary isolation or quarantine for the sick or contacts".

    "Reducing exposure through reducing mass gatherings also contributes to slowing down and interrupting transmission", she said. "We also see that the health services and health professionals are prepared, including additional training, information sharing and good infection prevention and control to protect health workers but also to prevent any contamination".
    Coronavirus Outbreak Turns Into Pandemic (233)
    response, healthcare, government, COVID-19, Russia