“No Medical Justification For Emergency Measures” – Open Letter From 100s Of Doctors, Health Pros Urges End To Lockdowns
AIER reports that the following letter has made an impact on public health authorities not only in Belgium but around the world. The text could pertain to any case in which states locked down their citizens rather than allow people freedom and permit medical professionals to bear the primary job of disease mitigation.
So far it has been signed by 435 medical doctors, 1,439 medically trained health professionals, and 9,901 citizens.
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Open letter from medical doctors and health professionals to all belgian authorities and all belgian media.
We, Belgian doctors and health professionals, wish to express our serious concern about the evolution of the situation in the recent months surrounding the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We call on politicians to be independently and critically informed in the decision-making process and in the compulsory implementation of corona-measures. We ask for an open debate, where all experts are represented without any form of censorship. After the initial panic surrounding covid-19, the objective facts now show a completely different picture – there is no medical justification for any emergency policy anymore.
The current crisis management has become totally disproportionate and causes more damage than it does any good.
We call for an end to all measures and ask for an immediate restoration of our normal democratic governance and legal structures and of all our civil liberties.
‘A cure must not be worse than the problem’ is a thesis that is more relevant than ever in the current situation. We note, however, that the collateral damage now being caused to the population will have a greater impact in the short and long term on all sections of the population than the number of people now being safeguarded from corona.
In our opinion, the current corona measures and the strict penalties for non-compliance with them are contrary to the values formulated by the Belgian Supreme Health Council, which, until recently, as the health authority, has always ensured quality medicine in our country: “Science – Expertise – Quality – Impartiality – Independence – Transparency”.
We believe that the policy has introduced mandatory measures that are not sufficiently scientifically based, unilaterally directed, and that there is not enough space in the media for an open debate in which different views and opinions are heard. In addition, each municipality and province now has the authorisation to add its own measures, whether well-founded or not.
Moreover, the strict repressive policy on corona strongly contrasts with the government’s minimal policy when it comes to disease prevention, strengthening our own immune system through a healthy lifestyle, optimal care with attention for the individual and investment in care personnel.
The concept of health
In 1948, the WHO defined health as follows: ‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or other physical impairment’.
Health, therefore, is a broad concept that goes beyond the physical and also relates to the emotional and social well-being of the individual. Belgium also has a duty, from the point of view of subscribing to fundamental human rights, to include these human rights in its decision-making when it comes to measures taken in the context of public health.
The current global measures taken to combat SARS-CoV-2 violate to a large extent this view of health and human rights. Measures include compulsory wearing of a mask (also in open air and during sporting activities, and in some municipalities even when there are no other people in the vicinity), physical distancing, social isolation, compulsory quarantine for some groups and hygiene measures.
The predicted pandemic with millions of deaths
At the beginning of the pandemic, the measures were understandable and widely supported, even if there were differences in implementation in the countries around us. The WHO originally predicted a pandemic that would claim 3.4% victims, in other words millions of deaths, and a highly contagious virus for which no treatment or vaccine was available. This would put unprecedented pressure on the intensive care units (ICUs) of our hospitals.
This led to a global alarm situation, never seen in the history of mankind: “flatten the curve” was represented by a lockdown that shut down the entire society and economy and quarantined healthy people. Social distancing became the new normal in anticipation of a rescue vaccine.
The facts about covid-19
Gradually, the alarm bell was sounded from many sources: the objective facts showed a completely different reality.
The course of covid-19 followed the course of a normal wave of infection similar to a flu season. As every year, we see a mix of flu viruses following the curve: first the rhinoviruses, then the influenza A and B viruses, followed by the coronaviruses. There is nothing different from what we normally see.
The use of the non-specific PCR test, which produces many false positives, showed an exponential picture. This test was rushed through with an emergency procedure and was never seriously self-tested. The creator expressly warned that this test was intended for research and not for diagnostics.
The PCR test works with cycles of amplification of genetic material – a piece of genome is amplified each time. Any contamination (e.g. other viruses, debris from old virus genomes) can possibly result in false positives.
The test does not measure how many viruses are present in the sample. A real viral infection means a massive presence of viruses, the so-called virus load. If someone tests positive, this does not mean that that person is actually clinically infected, is ill or is going to become ill. Koch’s postulate was not fulfilled (“The pure agent found in a patient with complaints can provoke the same complaints in a healthy person”).
Since a positive PCR test does not automatically indicate active infection or infectivity, this does not justify the social measures taken, which are based solely on these tests.
If we compare the waves of infection in countries with strict lockdown policies to countries that did not impose lockdowns (Sweden, Iceland …), we see similar curves. So there is no link between the imposed lockdown and the course of the infection. Lockdown has not led to a lower mortality rate.
If we look at the date of application of the imposed lockdowns we see that the lockdowns were set after the peak was already over and the number of cases decreasing. The drop was therefore not the result of the taken measures.
As every year, it seems that climatic conditions (weather, temperature and humidity) and growing immunity are more likely to reduce the wave of infection.
Our immune system
For thousands of years, the human body has been exposed daily to moisture and droplets containing infectious microorganisms (viruses, bacteria and fungi).
The penetration of these microorganisms is prevented by an advanced defence mechanism – the immune system. A strong immune system relies on normal daily exposure to these microbial influences. Overly hygienic measures have a detrimental effect on our immunity. Only people with a weak or faulty immune system should be protected by extensive hygiene or social distancing.
Influenza will re-emerge in the autumn (in combination with covid-19) and a possible decrease in natural resilience may lead to further casualties.
Our immune system consists of two parts: a congenital, non-specific immune system and an adaptive immune system.
The non-specific immune system forms a first barrier: skin, saliva, gastric juice, intestinal mucus, vibratory hair cells, commensal flora, … and prevents the attachment of micro-organisms to tissue.
If they do attach, macrophages can cause the microorganisms to be encapsulated and destroyed.
The adaptive immune system consists of mucosal immunity (IgA antibodies, mainly produced by cells in the intestines and lung epithelium), cellular immunity (T-cell activation), which can be generated in contact with foreign substances or microorganisms, and humoral immunity (IgM and IgG antibodies produced by the B cells).
Recent research shows that both systems are highly entangled.
It appears that most people already have a congenital or general immunity to e.g. influenza and other viruses. This is confirmed by the findings on the cruise ship Diamond Princess, which was quarantined because of a few passengers who died of Covid-19. Most of the passengers were elderly and were in an ideal situation of transmission on the ship. However, 75% did not appear to be infected. So even in this high-risk group, the majority are resistant to the virus.
A study in the journal Cell shows that most people neutralise the coronavirus by mucosal (IgA) and cellular immunity (T-cells), while experiencing few or no symptoms.
Researchers found up to 60% SARS-Cov-2 reactivity with CD4+T cells in a non-infected population, suggesting cross-reactivity with other cold (corona) viruses.
Most people therefore already have a congenital or cross-immunity because they were already in contact with variants of the same virus.
The antibody formation (IgM and IgG) by B-cells only occupies a relatively small part of our immune system. This may explain why, with an antibody percentage of 5-10%, there may be a group immunity anyway. The efficacy of vaccines is assessed precisely on the basis of whether or not we have these antibodies. This is a misrepresentation.
Most people who test positive (PCR) have no complaints. Their immune system is strong enough. Strengthening natural immunity is a much more logical approach. Prevention is an important, insufficiently highlighted pillar: healthy, full-fledged nutrition, exercise in fresh air, without a mask, stress reduction and nourishing emotional and social contacts.
Consequences of social isolation on physical and mental health
Social isolation and economic damage led to an increase in depression, anxiety, suicides, intra-family violence and child abuse.
Studies have shown that the more social and emotional commitments people have, the more resistant they are to viruses. It is much more likely that isolation and quarantine have fatal consequences.
The isolation measures have also led to physical inactivity in many older people due to their being forced to stay indoors. However, sufficient exercise has a positive effect on cognitive functioning, reducing depressive complaints and anxiety and improving physical health, energy levels, well-being and, in general, quality of life.
Fear, persistent stress and loneliness induced by social distancing have a proven negative influence on psychological and general health.
A highly contagious virus with millions of deaths without any treatment?
Mortality turned out to be many times lower than expected and close to that of a normal seasonal flu (0.2%).
The number of registered corona deaths therefore still seems to be overestimated.
There is a difference between death by corona and death with corona. Humans are often carriers of multiple viruses and potentially pathogenic bacteria at the same time. Taking into account the fact that most people who developed serious symptoms suffered from additional pathology, one cannot simply conclude that the corona-infection was the cause of death. This was mostly not taken into account in the statistics.
The most vulnerable groups can be clearly identified. The vast majority of deceased patients were 80 years of age or older. The majority (70%) of the deceased, younger than 70 years, had an underlying disorder, such as cardiovascular suffering, diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease or obesity. The vast majority of infected persons (>98%) did not or hardly became ill or recovered spontaneously.
Meanwhile, there is an affordable, safe and efficient therapy available for those who do show severe symptoms of disease in the form of HCQ (hydroxychloroquine), zinc and AZT (azithromycin). Rapidly applied this therapy leads to recovery and often prevents hospitalisation. Hardly anyone has to die now.
This effective therapy has been confirmed by the clinical experience of colleagues in the field with impressive results. This contrasts sharply with the theoretical criticism (insufficient substantiation by double-blind studies) which in some countries (e.g. the Netherlands) has even led to a ban on this therapy. A meta-analysis in The Lancet, which could not demonstrate an effect of HCQ, was withdrawn. The primary data sources used proved to be unreliable and 2 out of 3 authors were in conflict of interest. However, most of the guidelines based on this study remained unchanged …
We have serious questions about this state of affairs.
In the US, a group of doctors in the field, who see patients on a daily basis, united in “America’s Frontline Doctors” and gave a press conference which has been watched millions of times.
French Prof Didier Raoult of the Institut d’Infectiologie de Marseille (IHU) also presented this promising combination therapy as early as April. Dutch GP Rob Elens, who cured many patients in his practice with HCQ and zinc, called on colleagues in a petition for freedom of therapy.
The definitive evidence comes from the epidemiological follow-up in Switzerland: mortality rates compared with and without this therapy.
From the distressing media images of ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) where people were suffocating and given artificial respiration in agony, we now know that this was caused by an exaggerated immune response with intravascular coagulation in the pulmonary blood vessels. The administration of blood thinners and dexamethasone and the avoidance of artificial ventilation, which was found to cause additional damage to lung tissue, means that this dreaded complication, too, is virtually not fatal anymore.
It is therefore not a killer virus, but a well-treatable condition.
Spreading occurs by drip infection (only for patients who cough or sneeze) and aerosols in closed, unventilated rooms. Contamination is therefore not possible in the open air. Contact tracing and epidemiological studies show that healthy people (or positively tested asymptomatic carriers) are virtually unable to transmit the virus. Healthy people therefore do not put each other at risk.
Transfer via objects (e.g. money, shopping or shopping trolleys) has not been scientifically proven.
All this seriously calls into question the whole policy of social distancing and compulsory mouth masks for healthy people – there is no scientific basis for this.
Oral masks belong in contexts where contacts with proven at-risk groups or people with upper respiratory complaints take place, and in a medical context/hospital-retirement home setting. They reduce the risk of droplet infection by sneezing or coughing. Oral masks in healthy individuals are ineffective against the spread of viral infections.
Wearing a mask is not without side effects. Oxygen deficiency (headache, nausea, fatigue, loss of concentration) occurs fairly quickly, an effect similar to altitude sickness. Every day we now see patients complaining of headaches, sinus problems, respiratory problems and hyperventilation due to wearing masks. In addition, the accumulated CO2 leads to a toxic acidification of the organism which affects our immunity. Some experts even warn of an increased transmission of the virus in case of inappropriate use of the mask.
Our Labour Code (Codex 6) refers to a CO2 content (ventilation in workplaces) of 900 ppm, maximum 1200 ppm in special circumstances. After wearing a mask for one minute, this toxic limit is considerably exceeded to values that are three to four times higher than these maximum values. Anyone who wears a mask is therefore in an extreme poorly ventilated room.
Inappropriate use of masks without a comprehensive medical cardio-pulmonary test file is therefore not recommended by recognised safety specialists for workers.
Hospitals have a sterile environment in their operating rooms where staff wear masks and there is precise regulation of humidity / temperature with appropriately monitored oxygen flow to compensate for this, thus meeting strict safety standards.
A second corona wave?
A second wave is now being discussed in Belgium, with a further tightening of the measures as a result. However, closer examination of Sciensano’s figures (latest report of 3 September 2020) shows that, although there has been an increase in the number of infections since mid-July, there was no increase in hospital admissions or deaths at that time. It is therefore not a second wave of corona, but a so-called “case chemistry” due to an increased number of tests.
The number of hospital admissions or deaths showed a shortlasting minimal increase in recent weeks, but in interpreting it, we must take into account the recent heatwave. In addition, the vast majority of the victims are still in the population group >75 years.
This indicates that the proportion of the measures taken in relation to the working population and young people is disproportionate to the intended objectives.
The vast majority of the positively tested “infected” persons are in the age group of the active population, which does not develop any or merely limited symptoms, due to a well-functioning immune system.
So nothing has changed – the peak is over.
Strengthening a prevention policy
The corona measures form a striking contrast to the minimal policy pursued by the government until now, when it comes to well-founded measures with proven health benefits such as the sugar tax, the ban on (e-)cigarettes and making healthy food, exercise and social support networks financially attractive and widely accessible. It is a missed opportunity for a better prevention policy that could have brought about a change in mentality in all sections of the population with clear results in terms of public health. At present, only 3% of the health care budget goes to prevention. 2
The Hippocratic Oath
As a doctor, we took the Hippocratic Oath:
“I will above all care for my patients, promote their health and alleviate their suffering”.
“I will inform my patients correctly.”
“Even under pressure, I will not use my medical knowledge for practices that are against humanity.”
The current measures force us to act against this oath.
Other health professionals have a similar code.
The ‘primum non nocere’, which every doctor and health professional assumes, is also undermined by the current measures and by the prospect of the possible introduction of a generalised vaccine, which is not subject to extensive prior testing.
Survey studies on influenza vaccinations show that in 10 years we have only succeeded three times in developing a vaccine with an efficiency rate of more than 50%. Vaccinating our elderly appears to be inefficient. Over 75 years of age, the efficacy is almost non-existent.
Due to the continuous natural mutation of viruses, as we also see every year in the case of the influenza virus, a vaccine is at most a temporary solution, which requires new vaccines each time afterwards. An untested vaccine, which is implemented by emergency procedure and for which the manufacturers have already obtained legal immunity from possible harm, raises serious questions. We do not wish to use our patients as guinea pigs.
On a global scale, 700 000 cases of damage or death are expected as a result of the vaccine.
If 95% of people experience Covid-19 virtually symptom-free, the risk of exposure to an untested vaccine is irresponsible.
The role of the media and the official communication plan
Over the past few months, newspaper, radio and TV makers seemed to stand almost uncritically behind the panel of experts and the government, there, where it is precisely the press that should be critical and prevent one-sided governmental communication. This has led to a public communication in our news media, that was more like propaganda than objective reporting.
In our opinion, it is the task of journalism to bring news as objectively and neutrally as possible, aimed at finding the truth and critically controlling power, with dissenting experts also being given a forum in which to express themselves.
This view is supported by the journalistic codes of ethics.
The official story that a lockdown was necessary, that this was the only possible solution, and that everyone stood behind this lockdown, made it difficult for people with a different view, as well as experts, to express a different opinion.
Alternative opinions were ignored or ridiculed. We have not seen open debates in the media, where different views could be expressed.
We were also surprised by the many videos and articles by many scientific experts and authorities, which were and are still being removed from social media. We feel that this does not fit in with a free, democratic constitutional state, all the more so as it leads to tunnel vision. This policy also has a paralysing effect and feeds fear and concern in society. In this context, we reject the intention of censorship of dissidents in the European Union!
The way in which Covid-19 has been portrayed by politicians and the media has not done the situation any good either. War terms were popular and warlike language was not lacking. There has often been mention of a ‘war’ with an ‘invisible enemy’ who has to be ‘defeated’. The use in the media of phrases such as ‘care heroes in the front line’ and ‘corona victims’ has further fuelled fear, as has the idea that we are globally dealing with a ‘killer virus’.
The relentless bombardment with figures, that were unleashed on the population day after day, hour after hour, without interpreting those figures, without comparing them to flu deaths in other years, without comparing them to deaths from other causes, has induced a real psychosis of fear in the population. This is not information, this is manipulation.
We deplore the role of the WHO in this, which has called for the infodemic (i.e. all divergent opinions from the official discourse, including by experts with different views) to be silenced by an unprecedented media censorship.
We urgently call on the media to take their responsibilities here!
We demand an open debate in which all experts are heard.
Emergency law versus Human Rights
The general principle of good governance calls for the proportionality of government decisions to be weighed up in the light of the Higher Legal Standards: any interference by government must comply with the fundamental rights as protected in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Interference by public authorities is only permitted in crisis situations. In other words, discretionary decisions must be proportionate to an absolute necessity.
The measures currently taken concern interference in the exercise of, among other things, the right to respect of private and family life, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association, the right to education, etc., and must therefore comply with fundamental rights as protected by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
For example, in accordance with Article 8(2) of the ECHR, interference with the right to private and family life is permissible only if the measures are necessary in the interests of national security, public safety, the economic well-being of the country, the protection of public order and the prevention of criminal offences, the protection of health or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others, the regulatory text on which the interference is based must be sufficiently clear, foreseeable and proportionate to the objectives pursued.
The predicted pandemic of millions of deaths seemed to respond to these crisis conditions, leading to the establishment of an emergency government. Now that the objective facts show something completely different, the condition of inability to act otherwise (no time to evaluate thoroughly if there is an emergency) is no longer in place. Covid-19 is not a cold virus, but a well treatable condition with a mortality rate comparable to the seasonal flu. In other words, there is no longer an insurmountable obstacle to public health.
There is no state of emergency.
Immense damage caused by the current policies
An open discussion on corona measures means that, in addition to the years of life gained by corona patients, we must also take into account other factors affecting the health of the entire population. These include damage in the psychosocial domain (increase in depression, anxiety, suicides, intra-family violence and child abuse)16 and economic damage.
If we take this collateral damage into account, the current policy is out of all proportion, the proverbial use of a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
We find it shocking that the government is invoking health as a reason for the emergency law.
As doctors and health professionals, in the face of a virus which, in terms of its harmfulness, mortality and transmissibility, approaches the seasonal influenza, we can only reject these extremely disproportionate measures.
We therefore demand an immediate end to all measures.
We are questioning the legitimacy of the current advisory experts, who meet behind closed doors.
Following on from ACU 2020 https://acu2020.org/nederlandse-versie/ we call for an in-depth examination of the role of the WHO and the possible influence of conflicts of interest in this organisation. It was also at the heart of the fight against the “infodemic”, i.e. the systematic censorship of all dissenting opinions in the media. This is unacceptable for a democratic state governed by the rule of law.
Distribution of this letter
We would like to make a public appeal to our professional associations and fellow carers to give their opinion on the current measures.
We draw attention to and call for an open discussion in which carers can and dare to speak out.
With this open letter, we send out the signal that progress on the same footing does more harm than good, and call on politicians to inform themselves independently and critically about the available evidence – including that from experts with different views, as long as it is based on sound science – when rolling out a policy, with the aim of promoting optimum health.
With concern, hope and in a personal capacity.
Important Information Regarding the Coronavirus
16 September 2020
Due to the continuing worldwide travel restrictions and in consideration of the current situation, Lernidee has cancelled all Zarengold and Orient Silk Road Express journeys departing in 2020.
We continue to monitor the ongoing situation to better prepare for our earliest Orient Silk Road Express and Zarengold Journeys in 2021. We will keep you updated if there are any new developments and to inform you about our Health and Safety measures closer to the departure date.
11 August 2020
Latest from our Russian partners:
- As you might know some International flights were reopened on 01/08/2020 between Russia and selected countries including : UK, Turkey and Tanzania
In relation to the UK this is applied to:
- UK nationals entering Russia from the UK via Russian air check points
- Other nationals who are officially resident in the UK (have residence permit or valid long term UK visa) and are entering Russia from the UK via Russian air check points
Obligatory 14-days self-isolation is cancelled for those entering Russia for the above mentioned countries.
Foreign nationals to provide:
- A medical certificate showing negative COVID-19 test result made by PCR-method must be taken not earlier than 72 hrs before entering Russia
- In case there is no such certificate when entering Russia, a COVID-19 test by PCR method must be made in Russia on arrival and within 72 hrs
Russian nationals entering the UK are applied with obligatory 14 day self-isolation .
Self-isolation is not applied to those Russian nationals with a residence permit on the territories of the UK, Ireland, Nomad Islands and island Man.
- Switzerland is another country Russia will open International flights with from 15/08/2020. Flights Moscow-Geneva-Moscow will be once a week
At the same time Switzerland only allow to enter those Russian nationals with a residence permit
- Aeroflot earlier announced international flights to most of the European and other countries as shut till 31/08/2020.
Further they extended this period till October 25, 2020. However this information is not yet confirmed on their official website and can be considered as preliminary and not official.
- Re opening of international flights with the UK caused the increase of visa requests/processing we have in the company
Our London office resume operation and will be open three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
We will be happy to offer our visa services covering :
- Tourist visa applications
- Business visa applications
- Visa support documents (tourist / business / TIN)
Our Moscow office welcome UK visa applications
For more details please feel free to contact our visa team at email@example.com or by phone + 44 (0) 207 100 73 70
- Belarus and Russia agreed on a mutual one visa regime recognition. Practically it might come into force only by the end of 2020 or in January 2021
We are waiting for official details on how the system is going to work and will be happy to advise accordingly .
This is a great move and will hopefully make any transit trip via Belarus a hassle free journey.
- International trains with Europe, China and Mongolia are still shut .
8 July 2020
Due to the continuing worldwide travel restrictions and in consideration of the current situation, it was decided to cancel all Zarengold (Tsar’s Golden) journeys departing in 2020.
All our guests have been refunded and most are waiting with us for borders to reopen, to re-book for travel in 2021 and life as we knew it to resume.
29 May 2020 – Tour cancellations for the Golden Eagle Luxury Trains
CORONAVIRUS TRAVEL ADVICE
We recognise the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is extremely unsettling and that you will have major concerns about whether you should travel on your holiday. We are actively monitoring the situation to ensure the safety of all travellers. In particular we will be following the guidance for all travel to our featured destinations including Russia and Mongolia principally from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and US State Department directives. We appreciate the situation is unpredictable and fast-moving.
Our passengers’ health and well-being is always our top priority and we will continue to closely monitor this situation and will provide individual updates regarding the status of each tour to our guests as there are new updates released by the relevant government authorities in each country. If there is specific government advice to stop going to a particular destination in those circumstances you will receive a full refund or the option to change your booking to a later departure.
With regret we have taken the decision to cancel all 2020 Trans-Siberian departures due to the severe travel restrictions imposed by multiple governments throughout the world. All passengers affected have been or will be contacted within the next 72 hours and offered to amend to the corresponding departure in 2021, a credit for a future tour held at the 2020 price or refund.
We will review all other 2020 departure dates from September 24 onwards in chronological order at a point between 75 and 60 days before departure and advise guests accordingly.
Thank you for your patience and understanding in these unprecedented times.
25 May 2020 – Lonely Planet
When can I travel again? How different countries are preparing for the return of tourism
Countries are grappling with how to safely resume tourism as coronavirus numbers recede. Last week the European Union called for a safe reopening of borders between member states with similar rates of COVID-19 infections. And countries and regions around the world who have claimed success in managing the virus are taking concrete steps to reopen hotels and hospitality facilities, and establish safe travel zones.
But due to the unpredictable nature of the virus, policies could change at the last minute if there’s a potential risk of a rise in infections. Our ability to travel for leisure over the next few months will be impacted by each government’s public health advice; trace and test capabilities; border protocols, and social distancing laws. For now, as travel restrictions are eased, here’s a look at how tourism may resume this year.
Read the full article at Lonely Planet
“The world is very good at tracing Coronaviruses back through their generations and China has done so and now it seems the shit is about to hit the fan.”
Russia to ban entry for foreign nationals until May: Government Press Service
According to the government’s press service, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin held a series of telephone conversations on Sunday and Monday to explain the measure to leaders of neighboring states.
“The measures taken by Russia comply with the recommendations of the World Health Organization, are the result of special circumstances and are absolutely temporary,” the report said.
Exceptions will be made for for diplomats & those “residing permanently in Russia,” along with some other categories such crews of aircraft. International truck drivers and people attending funerals will also be exempt.
Earlier on Monday, some Moscow media outlets had speculated that the government was considering completely closing the borders of Russia. On the same day, the European Union introduced a similar measure.
The reports came after the frontier with Belarus was partially shut, despite the two countries having a “union state” agreement. The move drew protest from Minsk with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko saying it was a pointless move.
“If you follow the Russian logic, you need to close its borders regionally: to separate the Far East, Siberia, the Urals, to separate the Caucasus, to draw a border somewhere in the north of the European part of Russia,” he lamented. “Russia is huge, half the world (sic).”
As of the evening of March 16, the number of coronavirus cases in the world exceeded 174,000, of which more than 5,700 were fatal. In Russia, the number of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 reached 93 people, with no deaths so far.
European Commission suggests restricting all non-essential travel to EU for 30 days over coronavirus
“The less travel, the more we can contain the virus. Therefore … I propose to the heads of state and government [that they] introduce a temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU,” von der Leyen said on Monday.
The travel ban would last for an “initial period” of 30 days, but can be prolonged if necessary, she added.
Long-term EU residents and family members of EU nationals, as well as diplomats and doctors battling the virus, will be exempted from the travel ban.
Apart from that, the guidelines suggest that emergency medical and food supplies into the bloc are provided with special “fast lanes” to ensure that supermarkets and health institutions are able to cope with the growing demand.
The travel ban will also not affect UK citizens, despite London’s decision to leave the bloc.
“The UK citizens are European citizens, so of course there are no restrictions for the UK citizens to travel to the continent,” von der Leyen stated.
The proposed measures are expected to be discussed – through a video conference – by the EU Council on Tuesday. It remains to be seen how exactly the plan will be implemented – if approved by the bloc members altogether. Such travel ban would require participation of the visa-free Schengen Zone member-states that are not a part of the bloc. It also remains unclear whether the EU states that are not within the Schengen will have to join it or not.
The EU Commission proposals also suggest the re-introduction of controls on the internal borders between the member states. The health screening would be conducted only on one side of the border, to prevent people from being tested twice and thus minimizing the large queues that carry an increased danger of spreading the virus.
Several EU nations have already ramped up controls at their borders with other bloc members in a bid to slow down the spread of the virus. Earlier on Monday, Berlin suspended visa-free travel on its land borders with France, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark and Luxembourg. Foreigners without a “valid reason to travel,” as well as those suspected of being infected with Covid-19, are now being turned away. Cross-border commuters and cargo, however, have been exempted from Germany’s restrictions.
Border control was also increased by Portugal, which suspended air and rail traffic with Spain for a month. The latter locked down its land borders as well, letting in only Spanish citizens, long-term residents, cross-border workers and people with “justified emergencies.”
Last week, the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), which said Europe was now the hotspot of the disease. On Monday, the global health watchdog that the number of the confirmed cases worldwide has already surpassed those within China. So far, over 170,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide, including some 6,700 deaths.
Should I cancel my travel plans in light of the coronavirus outbreak?
The coronavirus outbreak has left people around the world wondering whether they should cancel or postpone pending travel plans. If you’re one of the many people feeling anxious about an upcoming trip, remember that while your decision to stay or go should always prioritize safety, you should remain up to date on the latest developments of COVID-19.
More on Lonely Planet…
- Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME: At its meeting on February 26, the State Emergency Commission made a decision to extend the suspension of traffic movements between Ulaanbaatar and 21 aimags until 8 a.m. March 3 – this mostly relates to inner Mongolian travelling and is also connected with Mongolians celebrating their Lunar New Year during this time period.
This restriction on the local transport was until this morning and it is no longer applicable. All local transport (local flights, buses) are now operating and roads between provinces are open , albeit with additional roadblocks/checks which may cause delays to some journeys.
A couple of additional things though :
- Flights to Irkutsk and Ulan Ude are suspended from 02.03.2020 until 11.03.2020
- Train borders remain open between Russia and Mongolia.
- Trains no 4 / 2 (only direct carriages going to China via Manchuria) between Moscow and Beijing (or Vladivostok) were suspended until 02.03.2020
We were waiting for some official information about this yesterday and today . Nothing was announced and with current information we understand this will remain the case until 01.04.2020.
- Trains no 4 / 2 (only direct carriages going to China via Manchuria) between Moscow and Beijing (or VV) were suspended until 02.03.2020 – we are waiting for any official update on Monday (02.03.2020 ) . It is expected now this will be extended to the end of March (31.03.2020)
- International trains are suspended from Ulan Bator to Beijing, Erlian, Jinin, Huh Hot and from Beijing, Erlian, Jinin, Huh Hot to Ulan Bator till 03.03.2020 – It is expected to be extended to the end of March (31.03.2020 ) – To be reconfirmed
- International buses are suspended from and to Ulan Bator till 03.03.2020
- Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ At its meeting on February 26, State Emergency Commission made a decision to extend the suspension of traffic movements between Ulaanbaatar and 21 aimags until 8 a.m. March 3 – this is mostly relates to inner Mongolian travelling and is also connected with Mongolians celebrating their Lunar New Year during this time period.
- Flights connecting Mongolia and the Republic of Korea (Seoul) are suspended until 11.03.2020
- Flights connecting Mongolia and Japan (Tokyo) are suspended from 28.02.2020 until 11.03.2020
- Trains connecting Russia and Mongolia as well as flights connecting Moscow/Berlin and Mongolia are still operating.
- Mongolia temporarily restricted the entry of foreign nationals and stateless persons who have travelled to the Republic of Korea, Italy and Japan in the past 14 days, effective from 28.02.2020
- Russia stopped the train running between Moscow and Nice with attached carriages to Brest – both directions.
- Trains connecting Moscow and Paris, Berlin run as per the standard timetable .
- Russia suspended flights to the Republic of Korea effective from 01.03.2020. Aeroflot, S7 and Yakutia airlines will carry on flying there on a limited basis. Only Koreans will be transported to and only Russians and Europeans will be transported out. This regime will be valid until all foreign nationals are transported out of the country.
- Russia limits flights to Iran due to Coronavirus
In accordance with the letter as made by the chief state sanitary doctor of the Russian Railways dated 02.02.2020 and in order to avoid corona virus infection to the territory of the Russian Federation, the decision is made to stop passenger trains and direct passenger carriages connection China and Russia effecting on 03.02.20 from 00 hrs and 00 minutes.
Trains are :
-train no 3/4 Beijing to Moscow – as belongs to Chinese Railways
-train 320/20 – 19/319 – Zabaikalsk – Beijing
-direct carriages Moscow to Beijing running as a part of trains No 2/1, 320/319 and 20/19 / direct carriages Moscow to Beijing that departed Moscow on 01.02 will travel till Zabaikalsk only
This is to confirm that there will be a temporarily stop of rail transport in between Russia and China.
Also please see this message as stated earlier by RZD :
Temporary restrictions on rail links with China
In accordance with Order No. 25 issued by Russia’s Federal Rail Transport Agency on 30 January 2020, from 00:00 (local time) on 31 January to 1 March 2020, passenger rail services via checkpoints at certain parts of the state border between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China have been temporarily suspended due to the corona virus.
During this period, the international passenger train No. 402/401 Suifenhe – Grodekovo, which is operated by Chinese Railways and passes through the railway border checkpoint at Grodekovo – Suifenhe, has been cancelled, as has the direct group of carriages operated by Russia’s Federal Passenger Company along the Chita – Manzhouli route via the border crossing point at Zabaikalsk – Manzhouli.
International rail links with China remain operative along the Moscow-Beijing route.
We remind passengers that unused tickets for cancelled trains and direct carriages booked and issued at Russian points of sale can be returned without incurring any charges or fees.
We are travelling for 30 days along the Trans-Siberian Railway route.
Follow our journey from Vladivostok to Moscow on Facebook and YouTube.
We try to post what we can, with more to come after our trip.
Vladivostok – Ulan-Ude – Listvyanka – Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal – Irkutsk – Krasnoyarsk – Tomsk – Novosibirsk – Ekaterinburg – Kazan – St. Petersburg – Moscow
From May 7th 2019 till the 5th of June.
Videos on YouTube by Hans Kemp – http://www.hanskemp.com
Just called my friend Heinz Stücke who informed me of this Kickstarter fund raising for a docu on his unmatched accomplishments! (Expires Dec 12th 2018)
We first met in the early nineties, getting him his Mongolian visa, and been regularly meeting up ever since.
Heinz turns 79 next January and lives in Hövelhof, Germany. Because of a bad hip, he can’t cycle anymore, but spends his days in his extensive archives and relics of a most remarkable life as the ultimate traveller!
NEW MONKEYSHRINE – 18th of March 2018
Our new website is finally up and running! Yep, the one you’re looking at now! 🙂
A huge amount of detailed information you could find on our previous version is no longer available. We hope this will make it easier to navigate and find the essential info you’re looking for. Please don’t hesitate to ask us about anything Trans-Siberian related! We’re glad to share almost 30 years of experience with you!
We’ll work on some further additions and improvements. If you find any issues, have suggestions, or missed something, please let us know – thanks.
ROBERT STOREY – December 2016
Robert Storey, one of the early Lonely Planet authors, passed away in Taiwan late December 2016! 🙁
He always visited our office/apartment in Chunky Mansion when he was in Hong Kong.
We kept each other up to date and had many meals and restaurant visits together.
He teached me how to use some basic DOS commands to send the first primitive emails, and later helped us setting up the first CompuServe account.
When I traveled with my then girlfriend Chris to Mongolia to explore the country for our first MAT (Mongolian Adventure Tour), he came along, disappearing in each little Som we stopped to find the post office and other important buildings to make frantic notes for the very first Lonely Planet guide on Mongolia. BTW – most of the pix used in that edition are mine! Pioneering days indeed!
He was a great guy, and I’m grateful he was my friend and for all the time and travel adventures we shared.
RUSSIAN EMBASSY BEIJING filed 1st May 2016
We have heard that the Russian Embassy in Beijing is currently only admitting tourists for visa applications by appointment (it is very busy with Chinese students applying for study visas at the moment). You may find it easier to use a visa agent, we can help if you book with us.
CHANGES TO VISA RULES FOR MONGOLIA filed 1st January 2016
In 2014 the Mongolian government relaxed the visa regime and most European and South American’s could travel to Mongolia visa free. However this rule was only valid until December 31st 2015 and this special exemption has now expired. This means that only a select few (Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, US, etc) can travel visa free and most nationals will now need to arrange a Mongolian visa in advance. See more on our visa page.