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Russia to ban all int'l flights as COVID-19 cases rise to 840

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-03-26 20:27

People wearing protective masks walk near a hospital for patients infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia March 23, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

MOSCOW - Russia will ban nearly all international flights from midnight Friday and recommend new restrictions, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 840 on Thursday.

Russia will stop all regular and charter flights from domestic airports to and from foreign countries, except flights associated with Russians returning home from abroad as well as flights carried out by the Russian government, according to an order by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin published Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that all Russian citizens abroad should inform the ministry about the need to return to the country before 14:00 local time (1100 GMT) Thursday.

It also warned all returning citizens to be ready for mandatory quarantine restrictions for 14 days from the moment they cross the Russian border.

The number of COVID-19 cases increased by 182 to 840 on Thursday, and a total of 38 people have recovered so far, Russia's consumer rights and human well-being watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said in a statement.

Two patients, aged 73 and 88 respectively, died of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus in a Moscow clinic on Wednesday, the Moscow Health Department said in a statement late Wednesday.

In Moscow, restaurants, cafes, canteens and some shops will be closed between March 28 and April 5, during which all Russians will be given paid leave to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, according to an order by Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin published Thursday.

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