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Russia Resumes International Flights To Select Destinations
After approximately four months of international isolation, on Aug. 1 some airports in Russia were able to welcome international departure to a small number of foreign destinations.
Earlier in the month, Russian consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor had sent a memo to the Transport Ministry and the Federal Air Transport Agency containing a list of 13 countries that meet epidemiological safety requirements for safe welcome of travelers. The list included the U.K., Hungary, Germany, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Finland, Vietnam, China, Mongolia and Sri Lanka, online outlet eTN reported.
However, the Russian Minister of Transport decided that only three countries will initially be served from Russian airports, with other destinations to follow in the coming week. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced that international flights will be available from certain airports in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don, while Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova confirmed that the only three countries initially approved to receive direct flights from Russia are the U.K., Tanzania and Turkey.
“A decision has been made to resume international flights, where we are guided by the epidemiological situation, infection rates, and the principles of reciprocity,” Mishustin was reported telling a government meeting by Russia Today.
Passengers will only be allowed to fly if they can produce a certificate, either in Russian or in English, showing a negative result for a coronavirus test performed less than 72 hours from departure. The same restrictions will apply to visitors landing in Russia. Those passengers who are Russian citizens returning home will need to undergo a test within the first three days after their arrival or face self-isolation.
The destinations first served on Aug. 1 were London and the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania, a popular holiday destination. On Aug. 10, flights will be restarted to the Turkish resort towns of Antalya, Bodrum and Dalaman, where millions of Russians spend their vacations every year.
Transport Minister Yevgeny Dietrich confirmed that more destinations will follow soon, as Russian authorities are negotiating the resumption of flights to 30 countries, including China. Reuters later reported that flights between Moscow and Geneva will restart on Aug. 15 with passengers originating in Russia subject to a 10-day quarantine after their arrival in Switzerland.
Russia has so far reported more than 800,000 cases of COVID-19, the fourth highest in the world with over 13,000 confirmed deaths. The country is still reporting thousands of new infections every day, and the epidemic shows no signs of slowing down.
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