Russia Reports Its First Coronavirus Death

MOSCOW (Reuters) -
A member of the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service wearing a protective mask takes the body temperature of a driver at a crossing point on the border with Russia, after Ukraine’s government tightened measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease in Hoptivka, near Kharkiv, Ukraine, Wednesday. (Reuters/Gleb Garanich)

Russia on Thursday reported its first coronavirus-related death, an unnamed 79-year-old woman in Moscow with underlying health issues who died from pneumonia after testing positive for the virus.

Russia, which has temporarily barred entry to foreigners and imposed an array of flight restrictions, has reported 147 coronavirus cases so far, less than many other European countries.

That figure has risen sharply in recent days, however, but authorities have said the situation is under control and that most infected people have entered Russia from coronavirus hot spots.

Some doctors have questioned the veracity of Russian data, given what they say is the patchy nature of testing. But the government has said it has been totally transparent about its handling of the crisis, and that its statistics are accurate.

Moscow’s coronavirus crisis center said in a statement on Thursday that the elderly woman who died had begun receiving treatment last week in a private clinic before being moved to a hospital specializing in infectious diseases.

It did not say where the woman was thought to have picked up the virus, but said her circle of close acquaintances had been identified and were under medical observation.

None of them were displaying any serious coronavirus symptoms, it said. Russians aged over 60 were strongly advised to minimize contacts with other people, it added.