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30 Mar, 2020 12:58

Mandatory self-isolation: With Moscow in partial lockdown, Russian PM urges rest of country to follow suit

Mandatory self-isolation: With Moscow in partial lockdown, Russian PM urges rest of country to follow suit

As Covid-19 spreads, enforcing a nationwide shutdown across the world's largest country isn't easily done, in practical terms. With this in mind, it seems the Russian government has reached for the carrot rather than the stick.

After all, there's a considerable difference between enforcing rules in Moscow's tightly packed metropolitan area (population over 20 million) and attempting the same trick in the wilderness of Chukotka, separated by the Bering Straits from Alaska. Also, the fact that the capital has recorded about two-thirds of the known 1,836 Russian infections has helped to concentrate minds.

Thus, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin asked for rather than demanded compliance on Monday, throwing cash at regions to bolster their defenses against the killer virus. He announced a 33.5 billion rubles ($420 million) package to create and equip additional infectious beds for the treatment of the pandemic, along with a 5.2 billion rubles ($65 million) allocation to purchase around 1,200 ambulances.

Also on rt.com ‘You should NOT leave your home’: Moscow mayor issues strict Covid-19 pandemic order, stopping short of complete lockdown

By Monday evening, at least 20 of Russia's 83 other regions had already announced that they will introduce similar restrictions to the Moscow area. They include Saint Petersburg, Yakutsk, Kaliningrad, Saratov and Murmansk. Some others, such as Kursk, said they will join in as soon as the first local coronavirus infection is reported. 

Mishustin said the main mission in Russia now is to minimize the spread of Covid-19. "The steps that are being taken [in Moscow] are the logical continuation of the policy of the president and the government to combat coronavirus," he said. "We are doing everything so that people can comfortably stay at home in self-isolation mode."

Also on rt.com World Health Organization believes it's too early to introduce STRICT quarantine in Russia, Kremlin agrees

Starting from Monday, in Moscow city and the wider Moscow Region, residents may only leave their homes to seek emergency medical care, go to a store or pharmacy, walk with a pet (up to 100 meters) or to throw out trash. Workers who must travel are exempted. The rules will be enforced with a special permit system over the coming days.

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