A Russian medical worker disinfecting a factory in Moscow

Over 15,000 Russian soldiers in quarantine for coronavirus

Thousands of troops set to participate in the traditional May 9 Victory Day Parades in Moscow were called into a 'precautionary' isolation; TV footage shows no adherence to social distancing or wearing of face masks in rehearsals

Reuters |
Published: 04.21.20 , 23:29
Russia’s ministry of defense said on Monday it had ordered thousands of troops into a two-week quarantine after a vast Red Square military parade in Moscow they had been rehearsing for was called off because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
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  • Up to 15,000 troops were due to parade alongside military hardware on May 9 to mark the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s World War Two victory, an event the Kremlin hoped would showcase Russia’s military and diplomatic clout.
    רוסיה מוסקבה חייל מבצע חיטוי במפעל נגיף קורונהרוסיה מוסקבה חייל מבצע חיטוי במפעל נגיף קורונה
    A Russian medical worker disinfecting a factory in Moscow
    (Photo: Reuters)
    But a somber President Vladimir Putin was forced to push back the commemorations last week to a later, unspecified date.
    Putin said the Victory Day events, including the parade he personally oversees from a raised stand every year, were “sacred” to Russians, but that the coronavirus outbreak in Russia meant the event was too risky to hold.
    TV footage of rehearsals showed thousands of troops marching in lockstep next to one another at a training ground outside Moscow earlier this month. There was no evidence of social distancing and none of them were shown wearing masks.
    Moscow's deserted Red Square, where the May 9th Victory Day parades were to take place Moscow's deserted Red Square, where the May 9th Victory Day parades were to take place
    Moscow's deserted Red Square, where the May 9th Victory Day parades were to take place
    (Photo: Reuters)
    All of the soldiers who took part in the rehearsals in Moscow would be sent back to their permanent garrisons across the country where they would be isolated for a fortnight, the defense ministry’s Zvezda TV channel said on Monday.
    The ministry did not say if the quarantine was anything more than a precaution and whether any of its soldiers had fallen ill or been put under observation, but that all military vehicles, trains and aircraft used to rebase them would be disinfected.
    The soldiers had been issued personal protective equipment to be rebased, it said.
    Russian media reports suggest the virus has in fact spread among those who took part in rehearsals.
    רוסיה מוסקבה חייל מבצע חיטוי במפעל נגיף קורונהרוסיה מוסקבה חייל מבצע חיטוי במפעל נגיף קורונה
    Russian soldiers in disinfection gear
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The head of St Petersburg’s Nakhimov cadet school, who had been rehearsing for the parade, told the Fontanka media outlet on April 16 that he was in hospital with a fever and had been tested for the coronavirus, though his results had not yet come back.
    Confirmed infections in Russia have risen rapidly this month, despite authorities imposing lockdown restrictions in Moscow and elsewhere.
    Russia’s Kommersant newspaper last week reported that, as of the end of March, three people in the military had caught the coronavirus and at least 133 people been put under observation.
    Later that day, the defense ministry said the coronavirus situation was stable and entirely controllable, the RIA news agency reported. On Thursday, however, the ministry said 14 servicemen and a civilian had been diagnosed with the coronavirus at a cadet school in the Siberian region of Tyumen.

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