Russian police have ordered a 60 percent reduction in car traffic across a 13-kilometer (8-mile) strip in the Urals and several districts in the north of the country in an effort to control the spread of deadly flu viruses such as the deadly Russian strain, Agence France-Presse reported.
The restrictions were announced over the weekend as at least 3,765 people died from the epidemic – the worst in recorded history – between Jan. 27 and Jan. 31, roughly doubling the record since the number of fatalities began rising on Feb. 2, according to AFP.
At least 27 people died in Russia last week alone.
The first step to control the virus is to cancel all car traffic, the Moscow police department said, according to Reuters. But traffic still moved Monday as trucks and buses were limited to traffic-free stretches. Officials said they ordered the entire zone to be shut down Tuesday.
Closures in particular caused many residents to travel by plane or train on Monday, the mass circulation daily Moskovsky Komsomolets reported.
Moscow sees the highest population density of Russian cities, with 828 people per square kilometer compared to approximately 440 people per square kilometer in Saint Petersburg, the capital of the former Soviet republic.
The Russian government has not said whether the 60 percent order has been lifted, a spokesman for the Moscow police department said.
Authorities have struggled to contain a surging outbreak of the virus in several Russian regions. During the worst of the outbreak, the Russian health ministry struggled to keep up with the number of cases.
The new Russia-wide measures follow a ban on all inter-city passenger buses across the country on Monday. Airline Cathay Pacific also rerouted seven flights to leave Moscow at 1:30 p.m. local time in the United States on Monday, according to Reuters.