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26 June 202012:01

Extract from the briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, June 25, 2020

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Update on the coronavirus pandemic

 

The global situation with the novel coronavirus pandemic remains largely unstable.

In the last few days, Latin America, South Asia, the Middle East and Africa set new records in the growth rates of infected people since the start of the pandemic, and this is a cause for concern.

 

Repatriation flights

 

This week we passed another milestone amid the ongoing global lockdown and entered the fourth month in our efforts to help repatriate Russian citizens who found themselves stranded abroad because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the current algorithm was put in place, more than 41,000 of our compatriots who expressed the desire to return home were repatriated. Out of this number, over 36,000 people were brought home by Russian airlines. I would like to emphasise that we have already met and exceeded the target figure of 30,000-odd people that was announced in late March–early April. However, we have received new applications from people who did not plan to return initially. Now their circumstances have changed, and they want to come home. Now we have to make adjustments to our algorithm to give them this opportunity.

In the past week, we focused on the near abroad. People flew from Dushanbe, Tashkent, Bishkek, Osh and Chisinau and not only to Moscow but also to other cities of Russia. Our citizens also returned from Belgrade, Ho Chi Minh and Bangkok. The geographic reach of transit via European and Asian hubs continues expanding. Almost all people on yesterday’s flight from Hong Kong were transit passengers who flew from New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan (PRC), Singapore and the Philippines. In all, there were about 60 people. Compatriots from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Singapore, to mention a few, returned to Moscow via Paris and Frankfurt. I would like to emphasise that we are helping compatriots return home not only by direct flights but also by using transit opportunities wherever possible. Russian citizens from Malta, Bahrain and Greece, not to mention such traditional remote destinations as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, have registered for the forthcoming flights from Paris and London.

Next week, we will pay special attention to Latin America. Preparations for another complex repatriation flight are underway. You can find all the details about flights on the information resources of the Public Services portal and on the websites of our embassies. I must say that we are working round the clock to make this flight available to as many people as possible. Regrettably, logistics difficulties do not always allow us to do so. We were hoping that it would be possible to organise ground transit from Peru to Quito, but reality proved to be too complicated for it. Yet we continue working in this area. In any case, we are trying to offer the optimum routes for our citizens, minimising possible risks.

We continue receiving numerous group applications from our citizens. All of them are taken into account in scheduling repatriation flights. Thus, our compatriots in China will have several opportunities to return home in the next few weeks. Flights operated by Russian and Chinese airlines will leave from Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou and possibly Beijing. This is brief information that reflects the work and very active efforts of Russian diplomats and employees of other departments: the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, the Ministry of Transport, Rosaviatsia (Federal Agency for Air Transport), Rospotrebnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare) and the Emergency Response Centre. All these efforts are taken under the aegis of the Government of the Russian Federation.

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