Russia ramps up coronavirus controls, bans public events, closes schools

by Reuters
Monday, 16 March 2020 15:31 GMT

(Adds new details)

MOSCOW, March 16 (Reuters) - Russia on Monday stepped up efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus by banning major sporting events across the country and by shutting state schools and limited gatherings of people in the capital.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin prohibited all outdoor events and limited public indoor events to no more than 50 people until April 10, he said in a blog post on his personal website, citing the need to strengthen the city's quarantine measures.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Russia rose to 93 on Monday, but no deaths have yet been reported.

Russia said it would cancel all sporting events from Monday, while Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin ordered all educational and scientific institutions under his department's jurisdiction to strengthen sanitary and preventative measures against the spread of coronavirus.

In Moscow, Sobyanin said that all state schools, sports schools and further education institutions in the city would be closed from March 21 until April 12.

Sobyanin also widened Moscow's list of countries from which new arrivals are obliged to spend 14 days in self-isolation to include all European countries and the United States.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin earlier on Monday introduced a raft of measures aimed at limiting damage to the economy, including an anti-crisis fund of 300 billion roubles ($4 billion).

Russia and Armenia agreed to restrict passenger traffic between the two countries, while Mishustin also said Russia would stop the movement of people across its border with Belarus.

($1 = 74.3200 roubles) (Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Alexander Marrow, editing by Maria Kiselyova, William Maclean)

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