Moscow officials have banned gatherings of more than 50 people and shut schools and universities in a bid to contain the spread of deadly coronavirus.
It comes as Russian authorities unveiled plans to speed-build a second 500-bed hospital to treat coronavirus victims in the country.
The new measures announced by Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin – to be in place from March 21 – came as the number of coronavirus cases in the country increased by 30 in the past day, its highest rise so far.
Even so, the nation has only 93 coronavirus cases, the lowest for any major country, and no deaths from the bug.
The new, prefabricated infectious diseases clinic – which could be ready in just 12 weeks – is to be constructed in Khabarovsk, close to the Chinese border.
Last week authorities announced work on a £92 million Moscow hospital to cope with an expected major rise in coronavirus victims.
The excavations for the new hospital are already dug and regional health minister Alexander Vitko confirmed land plots had been earmarked.
Russian authorities have unveiled plans to speed-build a second 500-bed hospital to treat coronavirus victims. The first hospital being built in Moscow (pictured) will cost £92 million
The Moscow hospital (pictured) is being built to cope with an expected major rise in coronavirus victims and will be constructed at least 800 ft from the nearest residential building
Talking about the new Moscow hospital, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said the build would not pose a threat to the local population at a site 40 miles southwest of the Kremlin
Russia will have two dedicated infectious diseases hospitals to cope with coronavirus patients, even though the country has one of the lowest numbers of confirmed cases worldwide
Khabarovsk region governor Sergey Furgalsaid the ‘prefabricated infectious diseases hospital with up to 500 beds’ had been ordered from Moscow to cope with coronavirus victims.
Talking about the Moscow hospital, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said the build would not pose a threat to the local population at a site 40 miles southwest of the Kremlin.
He said the hospital will be constructed at least 800 ft from the nearest residential building.
He said: ‘I am asking you to understand my decision.’
An aerial view of the site where a the Moscow infectious diseases hospital for coronavirus patients is to be constructed in the village of Babenki
‘The hospital will be built within a short time using pre-fabricated structures but still kitted out with advanced medical equipment.
‘An outer fencing and security zone will be created around the hospital building.
‘Sewage runoffs will be channeled to autonomous treatment facilities equipped with decontamination systems.’
He said: ‘An area in New Moscow (suburb), located outside the “concrete ring”, has been chosen as the site for the hospital’s construction.
‘There are no major residential areas in that district. Individual houses are situated 250 metres from the future hospital.
‘This distance is two-and-a-half times larger than the recommended sanitary zone.’
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said today said there were no grounds to introduce a state of emergency, a move made by other countries around the world.
Russian prime minister Mikhail Mishustin claimed Russia’s low number of cases is due to ‘proactive’ measures taken weeks ago to close the border with China.
Vehicles and diggers were seen loading building equipment into the Moscow site as construction began earlier this week
He said: ‘These allowed us to seriously limit the coronavirus spread in Russia.
‘We have been gradually closing our borders depending on the pandemic spread.
‘First of all, we have done this with China and other Asian countries, which were the first to face this threat.’
Air travel to many European countries has been curtailed. Today the frontier with close neighbour Belarus was blocked.
Denying a Chernobyl-style cover-up of the figures, Mishustin said: ‘We will not hide [anything].
‘We will speak absolutely openly about what is going on, what the forecasts are, what difficulties we face, and, of course, what positive changes we have managed to achieve.’
The Moscow infectious diseases hospital is to be constructed 800km away from the nearest house in Moscow. Pictured: Two diggers on the site
Construction has begun on the site where the first infectious diseases hospital is to be built in a currently empty field in Moscow
A worker is pictured walking across the newly laid foundations at the site of the infectious diseases hospital in Moscow, the first of two new hospitals announced
Building materials were pictured stacked on top of each other as machinery lined up to begin work at the site of the Moscow hospital
Progress continued through the night with bright lights allowing construction workers to continue manning their excavators at the new hospital in Moscow
It is unclear from official statements how many patients the infectious diseases hospital will hold in Moscow (site pictured), or when it will be ready
The site was flattened before materials were brought in ready to lay the building’s foundations as construction began at the Moscow hospital
Mayor Sobyanin insisted that existing hospitals were coping with infectious diseases including coronavirus.
But he said: ‘Every new case requires the hospitalisation of the patient, as well as a few more people.
‘Everyone who has had contact with the carrier is hospitalised in case they show even the slightest signs of acute respiratory infection.
‘There are lots of other “preventive” cases of hospitalisation, which do not lead to confirmation of coronavirus.
‘Naturally, the city should be prepared for any turn of events.’
The new hospital is to ‘bolster our preparedness’, he said.
Currently two hospitals are at the centre of the Russian capital’s war against coronavirus – Kommunarka Hospital and the Infectious Diseases Clinical Hospital Number One.
The site of the first new hospital at Voronovskoye, close to the village of Golokhvastovo, was teaming with activity as lorries queued up along a road
Work carried on into the night as the construction workers manning diggers raced to finish the project in Moscow
‘We have started building a new hospital for infectious diseases, and we will keep working on it,’ said the mayor.
The site is at Voronovskoye, close to the village of Golokhvastovo.
News of the Moscow hospital came just months after the Chinese government ordered construction workers to build a six-acre, 1,000-bed, coronavirus hospital from scratch in seven days.
The emergency facility, named the Huoshenshan or Fire God Mountain Hospital, is situated in the suburbs of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
The authorities instructed four construction companies to toil through the Chinese New Year holiday to build the medical centre.
It received its first batch of patients after just 10 days of construction on February 4.
Some 1,400 military medics were brought in from the People’s Liberation Army to run the new hospital, which was made of revamped shipping containers and prefabricated buildings.
It comes months after the Chinese government ordered construction workers to build a six-acre, 1,000-bed, coronavirus hospital from scratch in seven days in Wuhan
The emergency facility, named the Huoshenshan or Fire God Mountain Hospital, is situated in the suburbs of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak