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Russia to resume some international flights in August

Russia said on Friday it will resume some international flights on August 1 after a four-month pause to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Russia closed its borders and halted international air travel in March, though some cross-border flights have been allowed to repatriate Russians stranded abroad.

“We have made a decision to relaunch international air travel,” said Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin at the start of a cabinet meeting.

Flights will initially resume from Moscow, Saint Petersburg and the southern city of Rostov.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said that for the moment Russia would only resume flights with Britain, Tanzania and Turkey.

Flights to London and Turkish cities Ankara and Istanbul will resume on August 1, with air travel to three Turkish resorts popular among Russians beginning again on August 10, she said.

Russians will only be allowed to travel to the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania, which Golikova said was an “exotic route” that is “popular among a certain category of our citizens.”

She said foreigners arriving in Russia will have to show a negative coronavirus test completed within 72 hours before departure.

Transport Minister Yevgeny Ditrikh said Russia was in negotiations with 30 more countries to restart flights.

Russia has the fourth hightest number of coronavirus infections in the world, with 800,849 cases and 13,046 deaths, according to an official tally on Friday.