Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Monday gave the authorities five days to develop a system to track people who have come into contact with anyone with coronavirus by using mobile phone geolocation data.
Under the new system, people would be sent information if they came into contact with someone who was infected and the same information would be passed on to special regional headquarters set up to fight the respiratory disease pandemic.
The Kremlin said the measure was legal and part of a raft of measures Russia is taking to try to halt spread of the virus.
The measure will trace “citizens who are in contact with patients with new coronavirus infection on the basis of information from cellular operators about the geolocation of a cell phone of a particular person, which would allow citizens to be notified (over the phone) if they have been in contact with a person suffering from the new coronavirus, sending relevant messages to inform them of the need for self-isolation…” the communications ministry said in a statement.
Russia, which has a temporary ban on the entry of foreigners in place, has 438 confirmed cases of coronavirus so far and one virus-related death – less than many European countries.