In Moscow, visits to cemeteries were temporarily suspended due to the threat of the spread of coronavirus. The corresponding decree was signed by Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
He explained that on religious holidays - Palm Sunday, Easter, Krasnaya Gorka and Radonitsa - many Muscovites traditionally visit the graves of their relatives. About a million people usually come to cemeteries these days.
“Today I signed a decree on a temporary procedure for visiting Moscow cemeteries. Until the end of the high alert mode, they will be open only for registration of burial services and participation in the funeral of the deceased. It will not be possible to visit cemeteries just yet, ”Sobyanin said.
As explained in the metropolitan Department of Trade and Services, the decision was made because of the impossibility of maintaining social distance on the way to the cemetery and at the graves themselves.
“Visiting cemeteries on Easter days, given the peak load on vehicles and crowding on routes, creates a favorable environment for mass infection with coronavirus and endangers the lives of tens and hundreds of thousands of Muscovites and their loved ones,” the department added.
The mayor recalled that the risk of contracting a new coronavirus infection remains high, and urged senior citizens, who make up the majority of visitors to cemeteries, not to be exposed to danger.
Sobyanin added that the cleanliness and order in the cemeteries will be monitored by employees of the GBU "Ritual".
In turn, the press service of the Moscow City Hall noted that in Moscow and the region during Easter holidays special bus routes to cemeteries will be canceled in order to avoid a large crowd of people in one place.
They also reminded that public transport to counter the spread of COVID-19 is regularly disinfected.
“Buses, electric buses, trolleybuses and trams are processed at each exit and return to the park or depot, as well as at the terminal stations,” the mayor said.
In Moscow, restrictive measures have been introduced to stop the spread of coronavirus infection. All residents of the capital, regardless of age, must comply with the regime of self-isolation, which will last until April 30. The city has closed restaurants, cafes, entertainment venues and other crowded places.
Residents of Moscow can leave home to seek emergency medical care, travel to work for those who are required to attend it, go to the nearest store or pharmacy. Also, citizens can walk pets at a distance of not more than 100 m from the house and take out household waste.
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In turn, the chairman of the synodal department of the Moscow Patriarchate for the relationship of the church with society and the media, Vladimir Legoyda, noted that the Russian Orthodox Church considered the decision to suspend visits to cemeteries to be an expected and reasonable measure. He added that the practice of visiting cemeteries on Easter is not a church tradition and developed in Soviet times. Legoyda also asked believers not to be upset that they would not be able to visit the graves of loved ones at Easter, and recalled that the ROC makes a special commemoration of the deceased several times a year.
In addition, a working group under the patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to coordinate the activities of church institutions recommended that the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church call on parishioners to stay home on Palm Sunday and Easter.
“The clergy of the monasteries and parishes, guided by the blessing of the Holy Patriarch, are encouraged to call on parishioners for home prayer before lifting the restrictions imposed by the authorities. This also applies to Holy Week and Easter, ”the message said.
Sergei Sobyanin, in turn, also noted that the steps taken to combat the coronavirus implemented in the city were agreed and supported by Vladimir Putin.
“The president controls what is happening with us daily, daily. Almost all the measures that we are implementing in Moscow are discussed with him and agreed upon; moreover, they receive his active support, ”he said.
The authorities will do everything possible to cope with the situation with the coronavirus at minimal cost, Sobyanin added.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin instructed the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Russian Guard to take additional measures to comply with the regime of self-isolation by Russians who returned from countries with unfavorable epidemiological conditions. The departments were also instructed to strengthen security measures in organizations involved in the fight against infection.
At the same time, the president instructed the Ministry of Industry and Trade to increase the production, procurement and supply of disinfectants, ventilators and drugs for treating the virus, and the government and regional authorities to assess the readiness of medical institutions to provide care for patients.
In addition, Putin instructed the government and regional authorities, if necessary, to provide for the re-profiling of doctors of other specialties for the treatment of patients with coronavirus.