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Moscow Deploys Facial Recognition in Mass Coronavirus Quarantine

All passengers arriving in Moscow from China are required to undergo a physical examination and coronavirus test at the airport. Sofia Sandurskaya / Moskva News Agency

Around 2,500 people arriving in Moscow from China have been ordered to be placed under quarantine for the coronavirus and are being monitored by the Russian capital’s facial-recognition technology, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Friday.

All arriving passengers from China are required to undergo a physical examination and coronavirus test at the airport, Sobyanin wrote on his website. They are then given an order to place themselves under two-week quarantine, even if no symptoms are shown.

“In practice, this means that any person arriving from China must not leave their home or hotel for two weeks,” Sobyanin said. “About 2,500 two-week isolation orders have been issued to date.”

“Automated facial-recognition systems and other technology will constantly monitor compliance with the [quarantine],” Sobyanin added.

Sobyanin added that law enforcement and medical authorities were carrying out “unpleasant but necessary” raids in hotels, apartments and dormitories where Chinese nationals are thought to be staying. His announcement follows widespread reports this week that public transportation authorities have ordered drivers to alert them whenever a Chinese passenger boards their bus or tram. 

While Russia temporarily banned entry to Chinese tourists, workers and students starting Thursday to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Russian airlines continue to offer some flights to and from China.

Three Russian nationals have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus so far. All of them were passengers on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship moored in Japan.

China, where the virus emerged, has had more than 75,400 cases of the coronavirus and more than 2,200 deaths.

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