Defiant Russians still shaking hands…


Sarah Rainsford

BBC Moscow Correspondent

In Moscow, I get the sense that some feel the coronavirus threat is overblown and Russia won’t get the worst of it.

That’s partly because their leaders, whilst closing borders and limiting public gatherings, still talk of a “foreign threat”. They also contrast Europe’s “chaos” with their own “timely” prevention methods.

Many Russians are still shaking hands, perhaps taking their signal from the top: state TV keeps showing President Vladimir Putin doing the same, only the Kremlin has everyone tested for coronavirus first.

But crowds on the streets are thinning as galleries and other venues are shut. On Saturday, gyms, pools and sports clubs finally joined the list.

Meanwhile, it’s emerged that an infectious diseases doctor down in Stavropol who failed to self-isolate after a trip to Spain is being treated for coronavirus.

Local reports say hundreds of people she came into contact with on returning to work are now being tested.


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