Moscow enters lockdown to stop spread of coronavirus

Moscow enters lockdown: Streets are empty as Putin closes non-essential shops after Russian capital is hit by more than 1,000 cases

  • Moscow’s sudden lockdown was announced by the city’s mayor on Sunday night
  • It coincides with the start of a ‘non-working week’ declared by Vladimir Putin
  • The capital has more than 1,000 infections out of 1,534 total cases in Russia
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Moscow entered lockdown today in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus after the capital recorded more than 1,000 cases of the disease. 

Streets in the Russian capital were deserted today with Red Square empty after mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced the drastic measures last night.  

People can only leave their homes for very limited reasons including food shopping, medical treatment and walking their dog.  

The lockdown coincides with the start of a ‘non-working’ week declared by president Vladimir Putin last week in which shops and restaurants have been shut down. 

Red Square, overlooked by St Basil’s Cathedral (left) and the Spasskaya Tower of the Kremlin (right), is nearly deserted this morning after Moscow went into lockdown 

A street in central Moscow is deserted today after authorities ordered a shutdown and said people had ignored previous health warnings

Moscow mayor Sobyanin said people had ignored earlier warnings to avoid public places and non-essential travel.  

Many people went to parks for barbecues during an unusually warm weekend, despite the official recommendations. 

‘It is obvious that not everyone heard us,’ Sobyanin wrote on his website as he announced the tighter quarantine measures. 

Muscovites will only be allowed to go out to buy food or medicines at their nearest shop, get urgent medical treatment, walk the dog in a 330ft radius from their homes, or take out the bins, he said.

People who must go to work will be allowed to leave their homes, he said, adding that authorities would introduce a system of access passes in the coming days. 

Streets were deserted in Moscow this morning, although there was still some traffic on roads in the city centre.   

A vast system of facial recognition cameras in Moscow will help to police the lockdown. 

Sobyanin wants 200,000 cameras across the city in a highly contentious policy which was already underway before the virus outbreak began.  

An empty footpath in Moscow’s Gorky Park, which has been closed in order to stop the spread of coronavirus in the capital 

A nearly empty square outside St Isaac’s Cathedral in St Petersburg, as Russia’s prime minister ordered other regions to prepare for their own lockdowns

Moscow surveillance cameras such as this one will help to police the lockdown with facial recognition technology  

Russia’s prime minister ordered regional authorities to make similar plans for a lockdown. 

‘I ask regional heads to work on the introduction of quarantines similar to the one introduced in Moscow,’ Mikhail Mishustin said at a government meeting.

In a rare televised address last Wednesday, Putin announced that Russians would not be required to go to work this week, but would still get paid.

The country has so far reported 1,534 cases of coronavirus – more than 1,000 of them in the capital – and eight deaths.       

But some doctors have voiced scepticism about the accuracy of the figures given what they say has been the patchy nature and quality of testing. Authorities deny these claims. 

A survey by the Levada Center found only 16 per cent of Russians fully trust official information about the coronavirus, while 24 per cent say they do not trust it at all.

Russia has already halted international flights, closed its borders and shut down shops and  venues in Moscow and some other regions.

The head of Russia’s Orthodox Church yesterday urged believers to pray at home, telling people to obey instructions ‘before someone dies in our families’.

‘Refrain from visiting churches,’ Patriarch Kirill said, even though Orthodox services went ahead, including one led by him. 

Mosques in Muslim majority Chechnya cancelled Friday prayers, Russian news agencies reported. 

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