Hotel Meridian in the centre of Murmansk. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Possible first coronavirus in Murmansk, hotel shuts down

Hotel Meridian on the central square in Murmansk is closed after a preliminary test from one participant in a chess tournament was positive for coronavirus.
March 16, 2020

The person is a foreign citizen, regional news online B-Port reported on Monday. All foreign participants in the tournament that took place at Hotel Meridian were tested and one turned out to be positive.

The foreign chess player was Monday morning taken from the check-in area at Murmansk airport and isolated at the regional hospital.

News online Severpost reports that the airport terminal building was shut down, and sanitation of the public areas has started.

Work is now underway to identify all people that have been in contact with the foreign chess player. Hotel Meridian is also emptied for guests and sanitation has started.

The final results from the coronavirus test will come later, as the tests have to be sent to a laboratory in Novosibirsk for analyzing. If positive, the person is the first in northern Russia with coronavirus, an unofficial monitoring of coronavirus cases in Russia shows. 

Last week, regional authorities in Murmansk adopted a set of restrictive measures devoted to minimize the risks of spreading of the coronavirus. The measures included a ban on all mass gatherings where foreign participants were expected.

Read more: Barents Observer’s media partner, Eye on the Arctic, has compiled a brief resume of responses to this pandemic around the Arctic Circle to see how various national and sub-national governments are dealing with the outbreak. See here for updates.

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