Russia to ground all international flights from midnight

Russia will halt all international flights from midnight on Friday under a government decree listing new measures against the coronavirus outbreak.

The decree published on Thursday orders aviation authorities to halt all regular and charter flights, with the exception of special flights evacuating Russian citizens from abroad.

Russia’s civil aviation agency Rosaviatsiya will halt “regular and charter air travel from Russian airports to airports of foreign states and back,” according to the decree published on the government’s website. The grounding starts at midnight Friday, or 23:00 Thursday.

The decree said that flights authorised by the Russian government would be exempt from the rule. The new measures do not apply to domestic flights within Russia.

The government said Russians who were unable to return due to restrictions imposed by countries they are in should take measures to stay safe.

The decree also called on the finance ministry to allocate funds to repatriate Russians, adding that returnees would be subject to health checks and a two-week quarantine.

Russia, which has reported 658 cases of the coronavirus and announced two Covid-19 related deaths Wednesday, already closed its borders to foreigners last week.

Earlier in March, Russia limited flights to and from the European Union.

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