Russia’s Formula for Coronavirus Easing

Russia is currently number two in the world for confirmed coronavirus cases. But with the statistics starting to show a welcome drop in new cases, it’s time to turn our attention to how Russia will begin to ease from the current “self-isolation” to life as usual.

Russia’s Rospotrebodnazor (fabulously translated on their own web-site as the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing) is largely responsible for this process.

What drew me to study the Rospotrebodnazor details was some comments by Moscow regional Governor Andrey Vorobyev, mentioning that the region was ready to begin the easing process because, “We create hospital beds every day, therefore, most likely, by all three indicators we will be ready (for the start of easing) by Monday.”

In the midst of the madness that the world has found itself in, I love a formula.  So, here are the three phases, and three key indicators to ease to each phase, according to this May 8th document from Rospotrebadnozor, with my best attempt at explaining them.  It is important to note that, given Russia’s enormous land area, this will be controlled and processed on a regional level.

It seems it will be a long time before we return to life with scenes like this from Red Square.  But there is a formula on how to move in that direction.

Phase 1:

In this first phase of easing, you are permitted to:

  • Exercise outside (until now prohibited), but not more than 2 people in one place, and they must be 5 meters apart.
  • You may walk outside (until now, also prohibited, unless you are walking to essential work, the grocery store, or a pharmacy), but not in groups of more than 2 people while maintaining social distancing.  During your walk, you must avoid “places of mass congregation”, including playgrounds.
  • Service-based businesses can re-open.  I’m unsure which services might qualify or not.
  • Non-grocery stores may open if they have their own separate entrance, if their space is 400 square meters or less, and if they can control that there is not more than one shopper in the store per 4 square meters.
  • What I do NOT see in Phase 1: Construction and manufacturing.  Both of these were re-instated in Moscow on May 12th, and my assumption is that they are considered pre-Phase 1.  Please correct me in the comments, if I’m wrong! 🙂

And now, perhaps more interesting, the criteria to enter Phase 1:

  • The Rt Index must not be greater than 1.  My understanding is that this means that one infected person must not infect more than one other person on average.
  • “Availability of free bed capacity at least 50% of the normative need for infectious beds.”  I understand this to mean that there needs to be a certain percentage of open hospital beds ready to treat COVID-19 patients.  This is why I found Governor Vorobyev’s comments to be interesting.  There certainly is the feeling that they are creating as many beds as possible in order to expedite the ability to enter Phase 1.
  • There must be a daily average of not less than 70 PCR tests per 100,000 population (taken over a 7-day average).


In Phase 2, you are permitted to:

  • Open stores of up to 800 square meters, provided there is a separate entrance and you control that there is not more than one customer per 4 square meters.  Street markets and points of sale may also open at this point.
  • Certain educational institutions will open.  The document does not specify which ones.

Phase-2 criteria:

  • The Rt Index must not be greater than 0.8.  My understanding is that this means that one infected person must not infect more than one other person on average.
  • “Availability of free bed capacity at least 50% of the normative need for infectious beds.”
  • There must be a daily average of not less than 90 PCR tests per 100,000 population (taken over a 7-day average).


In Phase-3, the restrictions are relaxed to:

  • All shopping centers are opened, with no restriction on the number of shoppers or floor space.
  • All public eateries are opened, with the restriction that tables must be 1.5-2 meters apart.
  • All educational institutions re-opened.
  • All hotels open.
  • Public “rest” areas: parks, squares, etc. re-opened.

During all phases:

  • People with health risk-factors and anyone 65 years of age or older must remain self-isolated.
  • Masks must be worn in all public spaces, including public transport.
  • Social distancing must be maintained (1.5 meters).
  • Upon re-opening, businesses and other organizations are required to hold health safety meetings with their employees.

My understanding is that if there is a degrading of the COVID-19 situation that there will be a return to full self-isolation or perhaps a step back in the phasing.

Most interesting is what appears to be a determination on the part of Governor Vorobyev to reach these criteria as quickly as possible through the enforcement of social distancing, health care, and continued increase in available hospital beds.


I am no expert in these area.  This is my attempt to cut through the coronavirus information overload and share my understanding of Russia’s formula for easing the current restrictions.  If you speak Russian and really want to geek out on the formula, you can either check out the document yourself or just take a quick look at the exact formula here:

Снимок экрана 2020-05-18 в 14.19.02 As always, be sure to use the comment section to let me know where I have made mistakes! 🙂

And most importantly, stay healthy!




  1. >Russia’s Rospotrebodnazor
    You spell it wrong.
    >from Rospotrebadnozor
    Twice and probably intentionally.

    It is Rospotrebnadzor because abbreviation is ROSsiyskiy POTREBitelskiy NADZOR (Russian Consumer Surveillance)


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