Coronavirus | Moscow begins free antibody tests

Fit and active: A 100-year-old patient leaving the recovery ward of a hospital in Moscow on Friday.

Fit and active: A 100-year-old patient leaving the recovery ward of a hospital in Moscow on Friday.   | Photo Credit: AP

Number of cases in Russia crosses 2,60,000, the second-highest in world.

Russia’s coronavirus (COVID-19) case tally rose above 2,60,000 on Friday, cementing its status as the country with the second highest number of infections after the United States, as the city of Moscow began offering free antibody tests.

Russia’s death toll rose by 113 overnight to reach 2,418, Russia’s coronavirus task force said, while the case tally jumped by 10,598 to hit 2,62,843. Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s outbreak, started mass antibody testing of residents on Friday to try to work out what portion of the population has already been infected and to identify infected people with no symptoms. Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow’s Mayor, has promised over 2,00,000 such tests a day by the end of May, and said the programme will help him decide how and when to ease lockdown measures which have forced many businesses to close.

Though Russia was quick to seal off much of its border with China to try to reduce the spread of the virus, it was slower to close down European travel. Many richer Russians caught the virus during their annual ski holiday at the French ski resort of Courchevel in March, six Russians familiar with the matter said, three of whom fell ill after their own trip there. One of them, Alexander Sorkin, a restaurateur, flew back via Geneva on March 9 and was diagnosed with the virus several days later. He said he knew of at least 60 others with virus symptoms after the trip.

One Russian banker said he knew a number of people who returned on the March 9 flight from Geneva but then ignored an order from Moscow authorities to self-isolate for two weeks.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 8:00:15 AM |

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