MOSCOW, April 4. /TASS/. Russia does not halt flights evacuating compatriots from foreign countries, but suspends them to have a clear understanding about the number of evacuees and the venues of their accommodation, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova told reporters on Saturday.
"Why have we called a temporary timeout in evacuation of our citizens from abroad? The temporary timeout is two days, Saturday and Sunday. We need to have a clear idea about who will arrive in the territory of the Russian Federation, what country [they arrive] from, their number and where [they should arrive]," she said.
Earlier, the coronavirus crisis center headed by Golikova said that the flights would resume on Monday.
"The portal of public services posted a questionnaire that should be filed in by the citizens wishing to come back to the Russian Federation. We will ready some flights and draft a schedule for those Russian cities so that the flights could be filled up to their capacity and the arrival could go to the destination," the deputy prime minister added.
According to Golikova, the Russian safety rights watchdog came across the situation when "upon arrival from the territory of a foreign state affected by the infection, the citizens voiced their extreme discontent over their accommodation in infectious beds."
"We understand that it is very inconvenient to stay in infectious beds, but it is an absolute necessity so that the arriving people could not become spreaders," Golikova stressed.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. To date, more than 1,000,000 people have been infected worldwide and over 53,000 deaths have been reported. That said, over 213,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
So far, a total of 4,731 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 333 patients having recovered from the virus. Moscow handles the bulk of the cases (3,357). The country’s latest data indicates 43 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.