Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi

Russia will impose an entry ban for foreigners from March 18 through May 1, 2020, the government said in a press statement on Monday after Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s telephone conversation with his counterparts from a number of CIS nations.

“Mikhail Mishustin informed the prime ministers that in order to ensure the state’s security, protect people’s health and prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection and in conformity with Russian laws and provisions of Russia’s international agreements, the Russian government took a decision to impose temporary restrictions on entry to the country by foreign citizens and persons without citizenship from 00:00 local time on March 18, 2020 to 00:00 local time on May 1,” the statement says.

The ban will not be applicable to employees of diplomatic missions and consular establishments in Russia, drivers of motor vehicles serving international routes, aircraft, ship and railway crews, members of official delegations, holders of diplomatic, service and regular private visas arriving in Russia due to the death of a close relative, and transit air passengers.

The Russian prime minister had telephone conversations with his counterparts from Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Mishustin stressed that the measures taken by the Russian side “are in keeping with the recommendations of the World Health Organization and are of temporary character.”

The prime ministers agreed to stray in contact on coronavirus-related issues.

A pneumonia outbreak caused by the COVID-19 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV) was reported in China’s city of Wuhan, a large trade and industrial center with a population of 12 million, in late December 2019. Cases of the new coronavirus have also been reported from about 130 countries and territories, including Russia, which has 93 coronavirus cases. The World Health Organization says that the novel coronavirus cases across the globe have exceeded 170,000, with more than 6,000 deaths. The WHO has officially described the situation with the novel coronavirus as a pandemic.