Russia's virus cases rise from 33 to 147 in one night

By: AFP      Published: 06:45 PM, 18 Mar, 2020
Russia's virus cases rise from 33 to 147 in one night
Medical staff wearing protective suits walk downstairs at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on March 18, 2020. AFP

Russia Wednesday announced coronavirus cases had jumped almost 29 percent overnight to 147 despite the Kremlin imposing tight controls on movement and saying the situation is under control.

The number of cases has gone up by 33 to 147, Russia's state health watchdog said, with 31 of those testing positive in Moscow after recently flying in from European countries including France, Italy, Spain and Germany. The other two new cases were in Siberia.

Russia has prided itself on relatively low numbers infected and no deaths and President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said "the situation is generally under control."

It's not clear how long it takes to be tested in Russia. The Moscow cases were people who flew into Russia over a week ago, before the latest measures went into effect.

Strict measures aimed at stopping the virus spreading widely have included an entry ban for foreigners that came into force Wednesday and lasts till May 1 and the suspension of cultural and sports events.

The government said Tuesday it seeks to ramp up the number of people being tested, with more than 120,000 tests carried out since the pandemic began.