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20 Jul, 2020 16:21

Most of Russia's Covid-19 cases came from Europe, and NOT China, say leading researchers

Most of Russia's Covid-19 cases came from Europe, and NOT China, say leading researchers

A study by Moscow's prestigious Skoltech Institute has found that coronavirus was mainly imported to Russia from other parts of Europe. This is despite the disease first emerging in China, with which Russia shares a long border.

Along with researchers from four other Russian scientific institutions, Skoltech's genetic analysis confirmed the institute's assumption that Covid-19 mainly entered Russia from the West in late February and early March 2020.  

"According to the data obtained, unlike in other countries, the virus was brought to Russia not from China, but mainly from Europe," the institute's press service said. China's authorities first noted cases of "pneumonia of unclear cause" in December 2019, almost a month before the virus was confirmed to have reached Europe, on January 24. Many European countries subsequently reported a far higher number of cases than China.

By comparing genetic data from different Russian Covid-19 samples, the study concluded that the disease came to the country "thanks to at least 67 independent deliveries," and also discovered "at least nine" different coronavirus variants not detected anywhere else in the world.

In March, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin noted that many of the capital's Covid-19 cases arrived with Russians returning from holidays in Europe – in particular, the French Alps ski resort of Courchevel, a popular destination for Russia's elite.

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As of July 20, official Russian data shows that the country has diagnosed at least 777,486 cases of coronavirus, with 12,427 confirmed deaths. Globally, Russia has the fourth-most cases, behind the US (3,773,723), Brazil (2,098,389), and India (1,118,206).

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