Update – 03.09.2020
September 3, 2020
- On Tuesday September 1st, the number of coronavirus cases in Russia exceeded 1M. On Thursday September 3rd, Russia recorded 4,995 new cases of coronavirus in 83 Russian regions, raising the official number of positive results to 1,009,995, with 17,528 fatalities. Most of the new COVID-19 cases (690) were registered in Moscow, raising the total number of Muscovites with confirmed COVID-19 to 264,374. In the meantime, a total number of 826,935 Russian patients are known to have recovered from the virus. The supply of large batches of the Russian vaccine against coronavirus will begin in September, according to the Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko. The vaccination of volunteers as part of post-registration studies has been planned between September 5th and 7th in numerous Moscow clinics.
- On the morning of September 3rd, Russian authorities confirmed the opening of air borders with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and the Maldives. Air traffic has been resumed on a mutual basis with Dubai (currently permitted two flights per week), Cairo (three flights per week) and Male airport (two flights per week). Furthermore, flights to Switzerland have increased to four times per week: two Aeroflot flights from Moscow and two Swiss Air flights from Moscow to Zurich. Previously, flights were conducted once a week.
- On August 22nd, the Polish cabinet of ministers published a project decree revising the pre-existing list of countries from which air traffic is prohibited: Russia, China, Gabon, Singapore and Serbia were removed from this list. As such, Poland will allow Russian tourists to enter its territory. According to the principle of reciprocity, Russian authorities will also have to allow flights to/from Poland in the near future.
- Moldova has included Russia on the list of states whose citizens can enter the country from September 1st, which automatically lifts the ban on Russian tourists. However, the ban on air traffic between Moldova and Russia continues, and Russia’s national carrier, Aeroflot, canceled planned August flights from Moscow to Chisinau, which were previously included on the carrier’s flight schedule.
- As from September 7th, Russian citizens in possession of valid Schengen visas can enter Greece through Athens airports, as well as those of Thessaloniki and Heraklion. The permission for entry is valid till September 21st with further extension expected to be announced soon. Entry is only allowed through the specified airports, with a limit of 500 people per week. A negative PCR test, translated into English and conducted within 72 hours before the trip, is also required. Additionally, passengers are required to fill out an electronic PLF (passenger locator form) in advance with information on previous trips, the duration of their stay in Greece and a relevant address. They will also need to hold an email confirmation with a QR code, which will be required upon entry in the country. Selective testing of passengers at respective airports will also be performed. However, it is not yet known how the established quota of 500 people will be monitored. Furthermore, there’s still no direct air traffic between Greece and Russia, and there are no flights between Athens and Istanbul yet (for tourists wishing to travel with stop-over via an “open” country such as Turkey).
- Russians are hesitant to make travel bookings because of quarantine rumors, according to the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR). “Sales have been deeply affected, with unusually low demand for winter reservations. Tourists fear that quarantine may be reintroduced in Russia from September 20th, and that they will lose money on bookings,” said ATOR.
- As from September 12th, cinemas, food courts and food establishments in St. Petersburg, previously closed in an attempt to restrict the spread of COVID-19, will reopen. The ban on various indoor events, including sports, culture and entertainment, will also be lifted. Health resorts can fully open, and pre-bookings for swimming pools, fitness centers and libraries will not be necessary. Social service organization visits are allowed by appointment.
- On Thursday, September 3rd, Kazakhstan recorded 88 new cases of coronavirus, raising the official number of positive cases to 106,032, with 1,588 fatalities.
- Several restrictive quarantine measures were lifted in the country on August 31st, as owing to the country’s improved epidemiological situation. The measures imposed have yielded significant results, with the COVID-19 infection rate reduced tenfold in comparison to its peak season, while the number of ambulance calls has fallen 4.2 times, and the occupancy of beds by 80% respectively. Since August 31st, religious sites, swimming pools, fitness centers, cultural facilities and national parks were allowed to reopen with limited opening hours and visitors. Bus services between cities and regions have also been restored. On weekends and holidays, quarantine will be tightened to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. Social distancing and face masks are mandatory.
- The World Health Organization has approved the Kazakh vaccine against COVID-19 as liable for clinical trials. Earlier, Kazakhstan’s Education and Science Minister Askhat Aimagambetov claimed that preclinical trials of the QazCovid-in vaccine have already been completed with positive results.
- On Thursday, September 3rd, Ukraine recorded 2,430 new cases of coronavirus, raising the official number of positive cases to 128,228, with 2,710 fatalities. 17 regions and Kyiv are not planning to lift current restrictions.
- Ukrainian authorities announced closure of the country’s borders between August 29th to September 28th to all foreign citizens, due to the deterioration of the COVID-19 situation. Only specific categories of citizens will be allowed to enter the country, including those with a residence permit, those who are members of international and humanitarian missions, and international flight crews etc.
- Following this restriction, national carrier, Ukraine International airlines (UIA), significantly reduced its flight schedule for the period between September 1st to October 2020 24th. However, flights to Dubai will operate daily from Kyiv, including those performed by FlyDubai.
- Between September 1st to September 30th, Ukrainian citizens are allowed to enter the territory of Bulgaria without a negative PCR test result for COVID-19. A 14-day quarantine is not required either.
- Low-cost airline, Wizz Air, announced new regular flights from Lviv and Kyiv to Pardubice (Czech Republic). Following a long pause, Austrian Airlines resumed passenger traffic on the Vienna-Odessa route. Lufthansa has postponed the resumption of regular flights between Kyiv and Munich for a month, according to the updated schedule in the airline’s booking system. The airline plans to resume respective flights on October 2nd 2020, and not September 7th, as stipulated in the previous schedule.