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5 Oct, 2020 12:44

Ground the planes, again? Russian senator threatens border re-closure as Covid-19 case numbers approach pre-summer peak

Ground the planes, again? Russian senator threatens border re-closure as Covid-19 case numbers approach pre-summer peak

Russia can’t rule out closing its borders again to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, according to Senator Valery Ryazansky, but the federal coronavirus operational headquarters says such an extreme action isn’t even being considered.

Ryazansky told the Federation Council, Russia's upper house of parliament, on Monday that sealing the country’s frontiers could be on the cards. But the ruling United Russia party called it an “extreme measure” and said it does not believe it is necessary at this point.

“Of course, we can close the borders,” Ryazansky said. “The more people move, the more infections there are.”

The senator doesn't believe that strict measures will be introduced inside the country, however. Russia imposed some of the world's most stringent Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year, with Muscovites banned from leaving their homes for any reason other than food shopping, going to see the doctor or walking a dog.

In response to the senator's speculation, the country's operational headquarters rejected suggestions that the borders would be closed and air traffic would be restricted.

This is not the first time that statements from Russian officials have been contradictory. On Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained that the country was not considering a second lockdown. On the same day, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova warned that it may be reintroduced if the rules are not followed.

“You and I have no choice: either we comply with all those safety measures prescribed by doctors and thereby reduce the load on bed capacity, or we go into self-isolation,” said Golikova.

Also on rt.com Kremlin says 2nd Covid-19 lockdown isn't on the cards, as WHO urges Russia NOT to impose new quarantine due to mental health fears

Russia is currently experiencing a sharp uptick in Covid-19 cases. On Monday, the country recorded 10,888 official new coronavirus cases, the highest number since May 15, and more than double the daily number seen in late August. On the world stage, Russia (1,225,889) is the fourth-worst country affected by Covid-19, behind the US (7,418,738), India (6,623,815), and Brazil (4,915,289).

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