Many have wondered: just what is the pandemic situation in Russia? I myself became curious about this matter and decided to comb the internet (including Russian sources), to get a better scope of the COVID-19 response in the Motherland. While we cannot fully rely upon Russian news sources to give us a full overview of the matter, we can still attempt to extract useful information on the nation’s crisis developments.
President Vladimir Putin was recently spotted entering a Moscow hospital sporting a bright yellow Hazmat suit. While the Russian President has been downplaying the Coronavirus situation, the hypocrisy has already latched onto him in the form of fully protective virus gear. Putin has announced drastic measures in response to any citizen who fails to abide by Russia’s quarantine laws. According to Authorities in Moscow, “People in Russia arriving from high-risk areas must quarantine themselves for 14 days, and could face jail if they do not, but the general population has not yet been ordered to stay at home.” Russian officials have further stated that it is a “terrorist act" to infect another person. The Russian State Duma Committee came out with a set of stringent legislative provisions in the event that a citizen breaks containment law. Moreover, the bill makes it clear that:
“Any person who infects more than two individuals will be fined up to $12,300 or sentenced to up to three years in prison. Individuals who cause the death of a person due to the virus will be fined starting at $24,600 or sentenced to up to five years in prison. Two or more deaths will send the person who transmitted the virus to prison for seven years.”
According to The Moscow Times, as of March 25th, 2020, there have been 658 cases of coronavirus infections reported in Russia so far and three deaths.
Here is some additional information provided from The Moscow Times on March 25th's latest updates:
—Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced that libraries, theaters, recreational centers and nightclubs will be ordered to close in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus. Starting Monday, Moscow's restaurants, cafes and parks will be closed, Sobyanin later said.
—Russia has closed all sporting and cultural events and most large gatherings in an effort to halt the spread of coronavirus. Starting Thursday, Moscow residents aged 65 and older will be ordered to self-isolate at home.
— The Russian Embassy in the United States advised Russian citizens to return home due to the possibility that the U.S. could close all its airports to slow the spread of coronavirus there.
— The Russian government has told the country's regions to close nightclubs and cinemas to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
— Hospitals in St. Petersburg have been banned from accepting routine patient visits, citing the "continuing global deterioration of the epidemiological situation and the threat of the import and spread of coronavirus."
— The Moscow health department said it will allow patients with mild cases of coronavirus to recover at home rather than in the hospital.
— Putin has ordered the Russian army to carry out drills designed to increase its readiness to fight the coronavirus if necessary, the Defense Ministry said.
— Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's two-day visit to Syria this week was aimed at trying to prevent a flare-up in tensions there that might distract Russia, Turkey and Syria from committing resources to fighting coronavirus, the Vedomosti business daily reported.