Russia closes borders to slow coronavirus spread

coronavirus , COVID-19
This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 -- also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19 -- isolated from a patient in the US. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. Credit: NIAID-RML

Russia is to completely close its borders from Monday to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the government said on Saturday.

A decree on the government's website said Russia would "temporarily restrict traffic" across national borders to prevent new infections.

The country closed its borders to foreigners last week and grounded all on Thursday as part of increasingly stringent measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Russia.

Health officials have registered 1,264 cases of coronavirus and four deaths, according to Saturday's official tally.

Russian diplomats and will be exempted from the new restrictions.

Russian citizens living permanently in the Ukrainian breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk would also still be allowed to cross the , the decree said.

© 2020 AFP

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