Russia has imposed a 14-day quarantine for those who arrive from South Africa and the countries bordering it, sanitary watchdog chief Anna Popova said on Thursday, Trend reports with reference to TASS.
"Today, Russia has imposed a two-week quarantine, but only for those who are returning from South Africa and the countries sharing the border with South Africa, and that’s all. This affects just a few people, according to Rostourism (Federal Agency for Tourism) and our Foreign Ministry, it’s several hundred people staying in South Africa," she told Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station.
Popova specified that Russia and South Africa currently have no direct flights, and there are no tourists on package tours there. "These are the people who have traveled there independently. All of them will have to go through a 14-day quarantine upon their return to Russia, whatever way, <…> since the risks connected with the new strain are seen as very high for now," said Popova, who is head of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing.
No quarantine or restrictions, even for several days, will be required in all other cases when the border is crossed into Russia. "The PCR test is not required for Russian nationals who have a vaccination certificate or can show being previously infected. For those who have no such data, the coronavirus test is compulsory," she added.
"Foreign nationals who cross the border into Russia will have to present the document about having taken a PCR test within the past two days and testing negative, irrespective of whether they have some other medical documents," the watchdog chief said.
On November 26, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the B.1.1.529 variant identified in South Africa as a "Variant of Concern" and assigned it the Greek letter Omicron. In its statement, the WHO noted that "this variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning." Several changes at once in the spike protein can potentially hinder the neutralization of the pathogen by antibodies which may impact the effectiveness of vaccines.