Russia will temporarily stop all flights that were supposed to carry back its citizens back from other countries, the government’s Covid-19 task force confirmed. Regular and charter flights were halted last month.
The suspension will go into effect at midnight on Saturday, April 4, 2020, the government task force for combating Covid-19 has announced, saying this was “in order to maximize the protection of the health of our citizens and to limit the new wave of imported cases of coronavirus infection.”
Any Russians still abroad who wish to return home will have to fill out a special form available on the website for government services. They will also be provided with the social assistance necessary so they can remain where they are for the time being. The Russian government has allocated 500 million rubles ($6.5 million) to the Foreign Ministry for that purpose.
Multiple news outlets reported on the coming shutdown earlier on Friday, citing a message from the aviation regulator Rosaviatsia. The ban only applies to passenger flights, and none of the publications indicated it would affect cargo, private or humanitarian flights.
About a million Russian nationals have returned to the country on various passenger and charter flights over the past month, according to RT correspondent Murad Gazdiev, with some 25,000 still remaining abroad at this point.
3 April 20204,149 (+601) confirmed #coronavirus cases in Russia.34 have died. 281 have recovered. Russia ends all international air traffic. About a million Russians returned to the country over the past month. 25,000 still stuck outside, with no way now to get back.
— Murad Gazdiev (@MuradGazdiev) April 3, 2020
Moscow has taken Covid-19 extremely seriously, closing off Russia’s land borders and limiting international flights in the early stages of the pandemic. The virus has so far infected some 4,149 Russians and killed 34, as of Friday.
Many regions introduced partial lockdowns to combat the spread of the virus. Much of Russia has been given the month of April as a paid holiday from work and told to shelter at home.
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