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Russian Village Quarantines With Anti-Coronavirus Trench

Two deep trenches form "an almost complete ring" around the village. Dora Khamaganova /

A Siberian village has surrounded itself with trenches to prevent the spread of the coronavirus after officials said an infected shaman caused an outbreak among the local population.

The village of Shuluta in the republic of Buryatia had registered 37 cases of Covid-19 among its 390 residents as of Saturday, with a quarter of the population believed to have been in contact with them. An infected woman who performed a shaman ritual with dozens of villagers on June 10 is thought to have been the spreader, Reuters quoted Ivan Alheyev, the head of the district where Shuluta is located, as saying.

Workers have dug two deep trenches “in an almost complete ring” surrounding Shuluta as a protective measure, his spokeswoman Dora Khamaganova wrote on Facebook on June 29.

She explained that the trenches were dug not only to self-isolate the villagers but also prevent tourists from driving through Shuluta to a national park on Lake Baikal.

“This traffic chaos stopped when a second trench was plowed,” Khamaganova said, referring to Shuluta as a “strategic” location.

The village’s only grocery store has been closed for several days and authorities have organized food deliveries to avoid shortages.

The republic of Buryatia, located more than 5,500 kilometers east of Moscow, had registered 3,141 total cases of Covid-19 as of Monday. Its authorities extended anti-coronavirus restrictions until July 31 as the caseload has shifted from Moscow to the outer regions in recent weeks. 

Alkheyev has threatened lawsuits against two Shuluta residents who infected their families and neighbors as soon as restrictions are lifted.

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