The COVID-19 pandemic in Russia is part of the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was confirmed to have spread to Russia on 31 January 2020, when two Chinese citizens in Tyumen (Siberia) and Chita (Russian Far East) tested positive for the virus, with both cases being contained. Early prevention measures included restricting the border with China and extensive testing. The infection spread from Italy on 2 March, leading to additional measures such as cancelling events, closing schools, theatres, and museums, as well as shutting the border and declaring a non-working period which, after two extensions, lasted until 11 May 2020. By the end of March 2020, the vast majority of federal subjects, including Moscow, had imposed lockdowns. By 17 April 2020, cases had been confirmed in all federal subjects. At the beginning of September 2020, the number of COVID-19 cases in Russia reached a million. The number of COVID-19 cases in the country also reached two million on 19 November 2020, three million on 26 December 2020, four million on 10 February 2021, five million on 23 May 2021, six million on 20 July 2021 and seven million on 5 September 2021. At the end of 2020, there were nearly 3.2million COVID-19 cases in Russia. On 3 April 2021, the number of COVID-19 deaths in the country reached 100,000. Several months later, on 22 September 2021, the number of COVID-19 deaths in Russia reached 200,000.
Russia has the fifth-highest number of confirmed cases in the world after the United States, India, Brazil and the United Kingdom. According to detailed data published by the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat), 114,268 people with COVID-19 died between April and November 2020. However, over 300,000 excess deaths were reported in the same time period, suggesting that the official pandemic death tally greatly underestimated the true number of COVID-19 related deaths. Analysis of excess deaths from official government demographic statistics, based on births and deaths and excluding migration, showed that Russia had its biggest ever annual population drop in peacetime, with the population declining by 997,000 between October 2020 and September 2021, which demographer Alexei Raksha interpreted as being primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There were no other confirmed cases until 2 March when the first case in Moscow was confirmed. The patient was a young man who fell ill on 21 February while on holiday in Italy, and returned to Russia on 23 February, staying at his house in Moscow Oblast. He showed up with symptoms at a clinic on 27 February, and was then hospitalised in Moscow. On 5 March, the first case in Saint Petersburg was confirmed. The patient was an Italian student who returned to Russia from Italy on 29 February, and was hospitalised on 2 March. On 6 March, six more cases were confirmed, with five of them being in Moscow and one of them being in Nizhny Novgorod. All of them were reported to be linked to Italy. On 19 March, the first death of a patient with confirmed COVID-19 was reported in Moscow. A 79-year-old woman was first hospitalised on 13 March and transferred to a private clinic the next day. Upon confirmation of COVID-19 she was transferred to intensive care. She also suffered from numerous underlying health conditions and other diseases. However, her death was not counted as a coronavirus death. The first two confirmed deaths were recorded on 25 March in Moscow. The patients were 73 and 88 years old and had tested positive for the coronavirus. On 25 March, President Putin announced that the 2020 Russian constitutional referendum would be postponed due to the epidemic. He said that the next week starting on 30 March would be non-working nationwide and urged Russians to stay at home. Later, the non-working period was prolonged twice, lasting until 11 May. On 27 March, international flights were grounded after the government ordered the civil aviation authority to suspend all regular and charter flights to and from the country. On 29 March, Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin issued a stay-at-home order starting the next day. On 30 March, similar orders or recommendations were announced in numerous other federal jurisdictions, with many more announcing such restrictions over the next few days. The same day, the border was shut, with all border crossings closed.
On 11 April, Moscow's mayor, Sobyanin, signed a decree introducing a digital pass system to enforce the coronavirus lockdown, in which residents would require such a permit to travel around the city and Moscow Oblast using personal and public transport, with different types of passes including travelling to work, visiting hospitals and clinics, and private trips. Such permits would become mandatory on 15 April. On 29 April, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said on social media that the city would start constructing temporary hospitals that would have a total of 10,000 hospital beds for coronavirus patients. Russia also indefinitely extended its entry ban for foreigners, which was originally set until 1 May, with Prime Minister Mishustin saying that the ban will be lifted when the coronavirus situation improves. On 30 April, Prime Minister Mishustin said that he tested positive for the virus.
On 9 May, with the 2020 Moscow Victory Day Parade postponed, celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany were reduced. An air show took place in Moscow instead and President Putin laid flowers at the Eternal Flame outside the Kremlin. Authorities also urged citizens to stay at home instead. On 10 May, the World Health Organization's representative to Russia, Melita Vujnovic, said that day that Russia may have reached the plateau for the virus. On 11 May, President Putin announced the end of the national non-working period on 12 May and he also announced additional support measures. He also said that regional leaders can choose to keep restrictions. On 26 May, Putin announced that the postponed 2020 Victory Day Parade would be held on 24 June. On 27 May, Sobyanin announced that some restrictions in Moscow would be eased on 1 June, with all non-food stores and some service sector businesses re-opening and residents would be able to go outside for walks and sport according to a schedule.
On 1 June, the postponed referendum was announced to be held on 1 July.Reuters news agency also reported that Russia would roll out its first approved drug to treat COVID-19 in the next week. On 2 June, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that the government would launch a 5trillion ruble ($73billion) recovery plan in the next month to counteract the pandemic's economic impact. On 8 June, Moscow's mayor, Sobyanin, said that the city would lift coronavirus restrictions. Self-isolation rules and travel permits would be waived on 9 June, with no more walking schedules. Residents would be able to freely travel around the city and visit public places. Places like beauty salons, hairdressers and veterinarian clinics would re-open, with other places like restaurants re-opening over the course of June. Residents were still required to wear face masks and gloves and were advised to maintain their distance from others. That day, Prime Minister Mishustin also announced the partial re-opening of the border for some travellers, saying that it would allow citizens to leave the country for work, studying, medical treatment or to take care of relatives. It would also allow foreign citizens to enter for medical treatment or those needing to care for relatives and family. On 22 June, Moscow's mayor, Sobyanin, announced further easing of restrictions on 23 June with cafes and restaurants reopening as well as fitness centres and swimming pools. Restrictions on libraries and kindergartens would be lifted. On 23 June, President Putin announced changes to the tax system and further state benefits. On 24 June, the Victory Day parade in Red Square took place while it was reported that 30 major cities in Russia had cancelled their parade.
On 1 July, the main day for the vote on constitutional amendments took place. On 8 July, the governor of Moscow Oblast, Andrey Vorobyov, signed a decree easing some restrictions in the region including allowing restaurants, cafes, bars and other catering establishments to reopen from 25 July as well as a number of other places to reopen from 15 July. On 9 July, Moscow's authorities announced further easing of some restrictions with cinemas allowed to reopen and concerts allowed to be held from 1 August provided that they meet certain requirements. Attractions would be able to reopen and restrictions on places like parks and cultural centres would be removed on 13 July. Universities and schools would also be able to return to normal and the use of face masks and gloves outdoors would no longer be required except in public transport, shops and crowded areas. On 10 July, Tatyana Golikova said that starting on 15 July, authorities will start to gradually lift restrictions on flights abroad and will begin negotiations to restart international flights. On 15 July, the 14-day quarantine requirement for arrivals in the country was abolished with arrivals now requiring medical documents in English or Russian showing a negative test. Tatyana Golikova previously said that quarantines can be maintained for Russians returning from countries with high infection rates. On 16 July, Reuters reported that 30 million doses of the experimental vaccine would be produced domestically in Russia and the potential for 170million to be manufactured abroad, according to the head of RDIF, Kirill Dmitriev. He also said that a Phase III trial involving several thousand people is expected to start in August. On 24 July, Tatyana Golikova said that the country plans to resume some international flights on 1 August.
On 11 August, President Putin said in a meeting that the vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology was the first vaccine against the coronavirus to be registered. He said that one of his daughters was vaccinated. The previous day, the Association of Clinical Research Organisations, a union of pharmaceutical companies in Russia, urged the head of the Ministry of Health to delay the registration due to incomplete testing. The head of the RDIF stated that 20 countries had requested in total 1billion doses of the vaccine, nicknamed Sputnik V. On 31 August, the head of Rospotrebnadzor, Anna Popova, confirmed the beginning of the academic year at the next day on a full-time basis, saying the current epidemiological situation makes it possible to do so. The deputy prime minister Tatiana Golikova also previously said that higher education institutions would be able to postpone the start of the academic year by a maximum of two months, with 92% of universities starting normally.
On 1 September, Russia's confirmed number of cases surpassed 1 million, becoming the fourth country to reach that mark. Flights to Egypt, the Maldives and the United Arab Emirates were added to the list of countries where flights are planned to be resumed. On 5 September, Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu reported his condition on state TV after being vaccinated. On 8 September, the health ministry's press service said that the first batches of the vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Centre had entered civilian circulation. On 13 September regional elections in Russia were held, with social distancing measures and sanitary requirements for polling stations. Voting was also extended to three days, taking place from 11 to 13 September, with the main voting day on the last day, as well as other changes. On 17 September, RBC reported that pharmacies in Russia would begin selling Coronavir and Areplivir for treatment of the virus. On 20 September, Prime Minister Mishustin signed a decree resuming flights with Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and South Korea. On 23 September, Rospotrebnadzor head, Anna Popova, signed a decree which requires Russian citizens who have returned from abroad by plane to stay home until they receive a negative test result. Also that day, it was reported that a State Duma deputy from the Communist Party, Vakha Agaev, had died from the virus, becoming the first victim among State Duma members. On 28 September, Rospotrebnadzor head, Anna Popova, said that there was no need for new strict restrictions due to a rise in cases. She said that the situation had changed compared to the beginning of the year as well as the understanding of the virus, and attributed the rise in cases to the seasonality of the virus. On 29 September, the Chairman of the State Duma, Volodin, said that 18 deputies were in the hospital with the virus and that overall 60 deputies have been ill. The State Duma would also partially switch to working remotely.
On 2 October, it was published that in total, more than 45,000 people had died to date with coronavirus in Russia. The fatality rate in Russia is 4.6% At the end of August 2020. On 4 October there were confirmed 10,499 and it was the highest number since May 2020. 13,634 were confirmed on 11 October. 15,150 were confirmed on 15 October and it was the highest number since the pandemic started. Also daily deaths have steadily been increasing. There are now 23,723 deaths in the country.
On 6 November Russian statistics published that 55,671 people had died with coronavirus before 30 September 2020. The official death toll was 20,891. On 8 November 2020, Russia reported 20,498 new coronavirus infections and 286 coronavirus-related deaths. This brings the number of infected cases to a total of 1,774,334 and the death toll to 30,537.
On 28 December, the Federal State Statistics Service said that the amount of recorded deaths from all causes between January and November had risen by 229,700 compared to 2019. Tatyana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, said that more than 81% of these deaths could be attributed to COVID-19, meaning at least an estimated 186,000 Russians had died because of the virus.
According to a Levada poll conducted in November 2021, percentage of those who are concerned about getting infected with COVID-19 is 48%, while those not concerned 50%, while 39% personally knew someone who survived COVID-19 infection in acute form and 27% knew someone who died as result. 61% believes that COVID-19 is a biological weapon, and that belief is much more widespread among 55+ respondents (68%) than among younger ones (43%).
This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(December 2020)
The government of Russia has initially responded to the pandemic with preventive measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019, which involved imposing quarantines, carrying raids on potential virus carriers, and using facial recognition to impose quarantine measures. Measures to prevent a crisis in Russia include banning the export of medical masks, random checks on the Moscow Metro, and cancellation of large-scale events by schools. The Russian government has also taken measures to prevent foreign citizens from heavily affected countries from visiting Russia. Local governments have also responded to the pandemic by imposing their own preventive measures in their communities.
On 28 March, Chechen authorities urged the population of the republic to stay at their places of permanent residence, and banned entry to Grozny for anyone except emergency services, food supplies, government officials, police, and journalists. On the next day, Chechnya closed its borders, with a full lockdown coming into effect on 30 March.
On 29 March, Moscow issued a stay-at-home order for all residents starting on 30 March. Muscovites were not allowed to leave their homes except in cases of emergency medical care and other threats to life and health, to travel to work for those who are obliged to, to make purchases in the nearest shop or pharmacy, to walk pets at a distance not exceeding 100 metres from the place of residence, as well as to take out the garbage. People were instructed to keep a distance of 1.5 metres from other people. Those recently unemployed will receive 19,500 rubles a month. After that, a similar regime was introduced in Moscow Oblast at 20:00 MSK on 29 March.
Mass vaccinations began in December 2020, starting with primarily doctors, medical workers and teachers. Vaccinations began in Moscow on 5 December and were expanded to all other regions by 15 December. In January 2021, the vaccination programme was extended to the entire population.
As of 20 July 2021, 33.19 million people have received at least one dose, with 21.6 million people fully vaccinated.