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Moscow Officials Deny Planning Total Shutdown to Contain Coronavirus

Fifty-seven of Russia’s 114 confirmed coronavirus cases are in Moscow. Pavel Golovkin / AP / TASS

Moscow authorities have denied reports that they will introduce a near-total shutdown of the city to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Vedomosti reported Tuesday that officials are considering a state of emergency that would close all public transport, shut all nonessential businesses, impose a strict curfew and prevent anyone from leaving or entering Russia’s capital. Fifty-seven of Russia’s 114 confirmed coronavirus cases are in Moscow.

"The reports in the media that Moscow will be quarantined are not true," Anastasia Rakov, Moscow’s deputy mayor for social development, told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency Tuesday.

Rakov added that citizens should get their information on upcoming anti-coronavirus measures from the government’s official coronavirus information portal.

Vedomost cited sources close to the Moscow mayor’s office and the federal government as saying that the state of emergency could be introduced as early as this week.

Only pharmacies, grocery stores and organizations responsible for medical and emergency services would remain open, Vedomosti reported. All public transportation, including the metro, would close, and people would be barred from leaving or entering the city, which has a population of 12 million.

Under the state of emergency, citizens would need special permission to leave their homes, with police and National Guard officers patrolling the streets to enforce the curfew.

If taken, the drastic measures would echo those taken in coronavirus-hit France, where citizens need to obtain special permission to leave their homes and all nonessential businesses have shut down.

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