Russia’s Not Ready for Coronavirus

09 Mar 2020

(CFR/Think Global Health) ussia is surrounded by COVID-19. As of March 6, at least nine of its 16 neighboring countries have reported cases, and it shares a 4,300-km land border with China. Its own confirmed number of cases so far is in the single digits. There’s no evidence yet of community spread, and containment measures have been aggressive. But there is plenty of reason to worry about Russian infrastructure and capacity for mitigation.

The Russian government is borrowing quite a few pages from China’s harsh, comprehensive containment playbook. Non-Russian citizens traveling from the most affected countries are barred from entering the country. Air and land travel routes are shut down. Towns along the Chinese border, normally teeming with trade and tourism, are paralyzed. Health officials are doing random temperature checks among Moscow metro passengers. Large-scale public events, including the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum scheduled for early June, have been cancelled. Thousands of Russian citizens and foreign nationals entering from abroad are already under voluntary quarantine. [...]

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