The Prime Minister signed a directive on resuming air service with certain countries.
Excerpts from the transcript:
Tatyana Golikova: The Prime Minister signed a directive today on resuming air service with a number of countries. This has become possible because of the declining rates of the novel coronavirus infection in the Russian Federation for a sufficiently long period of time.
Let me recall that ten days ago we worked out criteria to reciprocally resume air service with foreign countries.
What are those criteria? I will list them again. They are 40 new coronavirus cases within 14 days per 100,000 people; no more than a 1 percent daily increase of new cases within 14 days, and also a novel coronavirus infection basic reproduction number of no more than 1 within seven days.
Aviation authorities have been given instructions to work out the details regarding respective routes. Rostorebnadzor agency was instructed to make relevant research and define the countries with which air service may be resumed.
After all the reviews were made, we can say today that so far this only concerns three countries. Why these three countries? Because we are taking precautions in resuming air traffic to avoid bringing in new cases to the territory of the Russian Federation. And these countries, as I said, fall under the above criteria.
Which countries? As of August 1, 2020, the Russian Federation will resume air service with the United Kingdom. I would like to be clear that this involves only London, and also recall that the UK did not close its borders, but they require a 14-day quarantine for everyone arriving in the country.
Also Turkey, two start dates for Turkey. Air service resumes to Ankara and Istanbul on August 1, while flights will also be opened to the resort cities of Antalya, Bodrum and Dalaman on August 10.
And, finally, an exotic route to Zanzibar in Tanzania. This is also a tourist route which was popular with a certain category of our citizens. Regular air service will also be resumed with this country.
I would also like to address our citizens who plan to travel abroad, and foreign nationals set to come to Russia. The Russian Federation requires that foreign nationals have a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of flying to Russia. Incoming Russian citizens can have this test done within 72 hours of arrival but inside the Russian Federation. If they opt to have the test done in another country, it must also be done within 72 hours of flying to Russia.
Regular air service is to resume from three cities of the Russian Federation – Moscow (Moscow Region), St Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don. Earlier restrictions limiting daily arrivals to 500 passengers for the Moscow transport hub and 200 for regional cities are void for these cities.
The restriction remains on 200 people arriving daily by inbound flights to other cities which have not restarted regular air service.
We will keep a close watch over the epidemiological situation in all the countries and the cities of the Russian Federation which are traditional flight destinations so as to prevent the growth of new cases due to the reopening of air service.
And to conclude, I would like to say that our citizens should be very careful about their health and keep following the restrictions when socialising. It is being done exclusively for the benefit of the health of our citizens living in the Russian Federation and those who want to go abroad on holiday.
The Emergency Response Centre is monitoring information on the developments weekly and will work – actually, is working – on expanding the list of countries with which reciprocal regular air service can be resumed.
Yevgeny Ditrikh: Good afternoon.
Tatyana Golikova has named three countries with which air travel will resume on 1 August. They are: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Turkey. The decisions to restart flights on the basis of reciprocity were agreed upon by the aviation authorities of our countries and considered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare.
Russian airlines have been preparing to resume international flights. Today the Federal Air Transport Agency will notify them of the resumption of flights to some cities of the above countries starting 1 August, and the airlines will begin selling tickets in the near future.
At the first stage, international flights will operate from airports in Moscow, St Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don. The rule that no more than 500 passengers are allowed to arrive in Moscow daily and no more than 200 passengers in other cities has been lifted for these destinations.
Work is in progress to expand the list of reopened international destinations. Aviation authorities are in talks with about 30 countries. I want to emphasise that we must not forget about the need to observe flight sanitary regulations intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The regulations are posted on the Ministry of Transport’s official site. Please review them before flying. As for us, we will continue making sure they are observed.
I wish you comfortable travels both for leisure and business.
Have a pleasant journey!
Anna Popova: The main aspect of our COVID-19 response effort is protecting the lives and health of Russians, the citizens of our country. This fundamental principle also underlies any decisions made to resume flights or reopen borders.
The decisions that have already been made as well as those now being considered primarily concern the choice of countries that are safe for Russian citizens to travel to and spend time in as well as to return to their home country while carrying no risks for other people here.
So we are gradually selecting, one by one, countries where the epidemiological situation is stable today, where the incidence rate is showing a downward trend, where the pace of decline and incidence rates, and the spread of the coronavirus meet our requirements and criteria. We are selecting countries where we believe the situation will not worsen in the near future. The main criteria that we are using are the same used for assessing the situation in the Russian Federation.
I would like to note that the basic rules for those who return to the Russian Federation on regular flights are also entirely aimed at protecting the lives and health of both arriving Russians and those who stay home.
Passengers flying to the Russian Federation from other places – I mean foreign citizens – should only be allowed on board if they have a negative COVID test, valid only if the sample for the test has been taken from them no more than 72 hours before departure. And accordingly, they have the result with them.
For Russian citizens – as we would not like to force them to take their tests abroad – the requirement will be to get a test within 72 hours after returning to the Russian Federation, and upload the result within 72 hours to the gosuslugi.ru state services website. All those planning to travel have been notified. All the necessary clarifications have been given, and we will continue doing so. But I would like to repeat that your test result must be uploaded, I mean we must see it, and only after that can we conclude that the arriving person has met our requirements.
Foreign citizens who arrive in the Russian Federation must provide a test result in either Russian or English, which is also important – they will need to take at least a short time for translation. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a legally verified translation is available in all countries.
The evacuation flights are also continuing. Those are a different situation from what we have just discussed – from regular flights, including returning ones. Under the current regulations, Russians arriving from different countries on evacuation flights (the countries of these flights are not limited in any way) must be monitored for 14 days either at home, or in an observation facility in accordance with the Chief State Sanitary Doctor’s orders. We are considering the possibility of changing this requirement as well. But we need more time to assess the risks and potential consequences. We do hope that the situation will allow us to end this rule in the near future.
I would like to specifically point out that the resumption of regular flights, in particular, the start of flights to Turkish resorts announced today, does not mean that all the risks are gone. The virus is still out there. The virus remains active. And we have said more than once that this situation will not change. The virus will stay with the human population for a very long time. And what we must do is follow the rules in this new reality. Breaking these rules is a risk to everyone’s health. At the same time, while observing the rules, you can travel around the world, take a holiday, and live a normal life. The main thing is to take care of your health.