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Russia imposes entry ban for foreigners from March 18 to May 1 over coronavirus risks

MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has signed a government resolution imposing a temporary entry ban for foreign nationals and persons without nationality for a period from March 18 until May 1 as a measure to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, as follows from the document posed on the government’s website on Monday.

"In order to ensure the state’s security, protect people’s health and prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection <…> Russia’ Federal Security Service (FSB) is instructed to impose temporary restrictions on entry to the country by foreign citizens and persons without citizenship, including those arriving from Belarus and Belarusian nationals, from 00:00 local time on March 18, 2020 to 00:00 local time on May 1," the document says.

The ban will not be applicable to employees of diplomatic missions and consular establishments in Russia, drivers of motor vehicles serving international routes, aircraft, ship and railway crews, members of official delegations, holders of diplomatic, service and regular private visas arriving in Russia due to the death of a close relative, and transit air passengers.

Russia’s Air Transport Agency was give 24 hours to inform corresponding air carriers about the ban. The Russian interior ministry and its territorial divisions were instructed to suspend the issuance of entry invitations and permits for the use of foreign nationals as labor migrants. The foreign ministry was instructed to suspend visa issuance to the above mentioned categories of people and notify foreign states about these measures.

A pneumonia outbreak caused by the COVID-19 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV) was reported in China’s city of Wuhan, a large trade and industrial center with a population of 12 million, in late December 2019. Cases of the new coronavirus have also been reported from about 130 countries and territories, including Russia, which has 93 coronavirus cases. The World Health Organization says that the novel coronavirus cases across the globe have exceeded 170,000, with more than 6,000 deaths. The WHO has officially described the situation with the novel coronavirus as a pandemic.