The coronavirus outbreak (hereinafter referred to as COVID-19) served as a trigger for a targeted effort to assess and manage the possible effects of COVID-19.
For example, among the most significant measures caused by the threat of COVID-19 proliferation in Russia, the following can be identified:
1. IN THE SPHERE OF HEALTHCARE
- The Government of the Russian Federation has made amendments to the list of socially significant diseases and the list of diseases posing danger to others by supplementing the COVID-19 to the list.
- Citizens arriving from the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Ukraine, Belarus and all non-EU countries, as well as those cohabiting with them, must observe the regime of self-insulation at home within 14 days.
- Under a resolution of the sanitary doctor, those who fall ill or are suspected of having contracted COVID-19 (risk groups) may be incurred to forced hospitalization, compulsory medical examination, isolation, suspension from work.
- The President of the Russian Federation signed the Decree On Retail Trade in Medicinal Products for Medical Use, which authorized the sale of over-the-counter drugs via the Internet. This is probably the most significant innovation in the healthcare sector, as the draft law on remote trade in over-the-counter (OTC) drugs has worried the pharmaceutical industry representatives for a long time.
2. IN THE SOCIAL AND CULTURAL SPHERE
- In 85 regions of the Russian Federation a high alert regime has been introduced. In this regard, mass events such as rallies, concerts, football and hockey matches, have been cancelled. A prohibition on any leisure activities with any number of participants in the open air in the sphere of culture, physical culture and sports, exhibitions, entertainment and educational activities, and in buildings, structures, premises with the number of participants exceeding 50 people has been introduced. For instance, in Moscow these restrictions will remain in force until April 10, 2020.
3. IN THE SPHERE OF EDUCATION
- All Russian universities have been switched to distance learning. Schools and pre-schools will be closed from 21 March 2020 to 12 April 2020.
4. IN THE SPHERE OF AVIATION
- The number of flights from Russia to China, South Korea, Iran and United Arab Emirates has been reduced. Flights to Italy, Germany, Spain, France and vice versa has been limited to the flights from Moscow to capitals of the said states. Regular air communication has been also limited with Switzerland, except flights Moscow — Geneva, and with Norway, except flights Moscow — Oslo. It is recommended to review up-to-date information, including official websites of the relevant airlines, because information is changing rapidly.
- There are restrictions on obtaining by a foreign citizen temporary residence permit, residence permit, patent and work permit. Temporary residence permit, residence permit or work permit of a foreigner, who has got sick in Russia, can be revoked. A decision that it is undesirable for a foreign citizen with COVID-19 to stay in Russia may also be taken. There is a temporary visa restriction on foreign nationals, except for diplomatic, official, business and humanitarian visas.
6. IN THE SPHERE OF LAW
- COVID-19 had an impact on long-term contracts that were entered into before the parties could imagine its effect. Also, COVID-19 could be potentially considered as a force majeure clause. It is also discussed in the legal community that COVID-19 may be qualified as a ground for inability to perform a contract or a significant change in circumstances. According to open sources, The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation has already issued conclusions about force majeure due to COVID-19, but only in case of disruption of export deliveries. At the same time, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry does not consider COVID-19 itself a force majeure, but rather the measures taken in Russia to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
- The Ministry of Industry and Trade, together with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Finance, is developing an act according to which restrictions due to the new coronavirus will be recognized as force majeure in government procurement. This is primarily due to the problems of car manufacturers.
- The agenda of general meetings have included the question of how to deal with those meetings which cannot be held by absentee voting by operation of law. The relevant amendments have been discussed in respect to annual shareholders’ meetings, it is planning to make an exception and allow their holding in absentia. Paragraph 2 of Article 50 of the Federal Law On Joint Stock Companies provides that the agenda of the general meeting of shareholders which includes issues on election of the Board of Directors (Supervisory Board), the audit commission, approval of the auditor of the company, as well as on approval of the annual report, annual financial statements of the company may not be held in the form of absentee voting so far. Such innovation is not provided for LLC general meetings. It seems possible to apply the relevant rules by analogy of the law, if they will be adopted.
- A number of responsibilities have been introduced for Moscow employers, e.g. ensuring temperature measurement, assisting in enforcing self-isolation, providing information about contacts of the deceased upon request of Rospotrebnadzor, etc;
- There is administrative responsibility for distributing fake news. The amount of responsibility will depend on the gravity of the consequences.
For breaching the legislation in the field of maintenance of sanitary and epidemiologic well-being of the population administrative responsibility in the form of the warning or imposing of the administrative penalty on legal bodies — from ten thousand to twenty thousand rubles or administrative suspension of activity for the term up to ninety days has been established. Criminal liability according to article 236 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation is also provided for violation of sanitary-and-epidemiologic rules, which caused mass illness of people or death of a person by negligence.
See an overview of other changes in the international coronavirus pandemic here.
- On decisions of the operational headquarters to prevent the entry and spread of new coronavirus infection in Russia and confirmed cases of disease // http://government.ru/news/39123/
- Resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation dated 01.12.2004 № 715 (ed. 31.01.2020)
- Resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation dated 31.01.2020 № 66 On Amending the List of Diseases that Threaten to People around Us
- Order of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation dated 16.03.2020
- Order of the Government of the Russian Federation dated 16.03.2020 № 635-r On temporary restriction of entry into the Russian Federation of foreign citizens and stateless persons and temporary suspension of the issuance of visas and invitations
- Recommendations of the Department of Education and Science dated 13.03.2020 № 01-50/02-380/20.
- Recommendations of Moscow Department of Rospotrebnadzor dated 11.03.2020 on prevention of new coronavirus infection (COVID-19) among employees
- Decree dated 05.03.2020 № 12-UM On introduction of high availability regime // https://www.mos.ru/upload/documents/docs/12-YM.pdf
- Decree of the President of the Russian Federation dated 17.03.2020 On retail trade in medicinal products for medical use
- Federal Law dated 30.03.1999 № 52-FZ (ed. 26.07.2019) On the sanitary-epidemiological well-being of the population
- Federal Law dated 18.03.2019 № 27-FZ On Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation
- https://tass.ru/ekonomika/7946159; https://sozd.duma.gov.ru/bill/901908-7