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Moscow Orders Citywide Quarantine Starting March 30

All Moscow residents will be ordered to stay in their homes with few exceptions. Sergei Kiselyov / Moskva News Agency

Moscow will enact an indefinite citywide quarantine starting Monday, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said as the city's number of coronavirus cases surpassed 1,000 over the weekend.

The self-isolation order will apply to all residents regardless of age.

According to the decree, Moscow residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for:

  • Emergency medical care;
  • Traveling to work if one is unable to work remotely;
  • Going to the nearest grocery store or pharmacy;
  • Walking pets within a 100-meter radius from their residence;
  • Taking out the garbage.

People who leave their homes are ordered to maintain at least a 1.5-meter distance between themselves and others. 

The Moscow mayor's office will deploy a "smart monitoring" system to enforce the new rules, Sobyanin said, and the city will develop a special pass system for people to get permission to leave their homes. He stressed that there will be no restrictions on entering or leaving the city. Public transportation will also remain open.

"The extremely negative turn of events that we are seeing in the largest cities in Europe and the United States has caused great concern for the lives and health of our citizens," Sobyanin wrote on his website.

Sobyanin didn't specify the punishments for violating the self-isolation order. On Monday, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported that ordinary citizens could face fines up to 40,000 rubles ($500) for violating quarantine. They can face fines up to 300,000 rubles ($3,700) if they infect another person and cause their death by violating quarantine.

His decree also introduced measures to support those who lose their jobs as a result of the quarantine with unemployment benefits of 19,500 rubles ($250) per month. People with mild cases of coronavirus will be treated at home and will receive anti-viral medication for free.

Russia's capital has confirmed 1,014 cases of the coronavirus so far, making it the epicenter of the pandemic within the country. Earlier on Sunday, Sobyanin had said the coronavirus situation in Moscow had entered a "new phase."

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