The global death toll from the coronavirus has passed 20,000 with more than 450,000 infections confirmed, causing mass disruptions as governments continue to try to slow the spread of the new respiratory illness.
Here’s a roundup of developments in RFE/RL’s broadcast countries.
Police in Armenia have begun enforcing a nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus by ensuring people are following new restrictions to freedom of movement.
The toughened measures, which will remain in force for at least one week, come as the number of coronavirus cases in the South Caucasus country increased to 265 on March 25.
Health authorities say 18 people have recovered from the respiratory illness. No deaths have been reported.
People leaving their homes in the country of nearly 3 million people must carry identity credentials and self-completed forms that explain their reason for being outdoors.
The information must include destination, duration outside, and the time the person left as well as the estimated time when he or she plans to return home.
Citizens are allowed to travel to and from work if they are employed in a field whose activities have not been not suspended by the government.
They are also permitted to leave their homes to exercise or to buy food or medicine.
Only two people, including the driver, can be inside a vehicle at the same time.
The Armenian government on March 16 declared a one-month state of emergency to contain the outbreak.
The country has closed its border with Georgia and Iran — one of the hardest-hit countries in the world by the virus.
And citizens of a number of countries, including the United States and EU member states, are not allowed entry to Armenia.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Romania has surpassed 900, including 13 deaths, as the authorities deployed army troops on the streets to enforce a “total quarantine.”
Romania has been under a state of emergency since March 16.
But the number of coronavirus cases has continued to grow as many people ignored recommendations to stay indoors, prompting President Klaus Iohannis to strengthen the restrictions on March 24 by declaring “a total quarantine.”
The authorities on March 25 reported 144 more infections, bringing the total to 907 out of some 14,000 people tested. The death toll of 13 on March 25 was an increase from eight during the previous 24 hours.
Armored vehicles manned by soldiers in combat gear and face masks were patrolling downtown Bucharest on March 25 after Iohannis ordered the army to help police enforce the lockdown.
Neighboring Moldova on March 25 reported 16 more coronavirus cases during the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections there to 125.
“A total of 1,011 coronavirus tests have been carried out since March 7, and 125 of them were positive,” Health, Labor, and Social Protection Minister Viorica Dumbraveanu said. “One person has died.”
Armored vehicles were seen patrolling the streets of Moldova’s capital, Chisinau, after Prime Minister Ion Chicu on March 24 asked the military to help enforce restrictions.
“We have decided to resort to the army’s help,” Chicu said. “We have decided to restrict the people’s access to public areas, such as parks, public gardens, and other places. This is a hard decision, but it is necessary to stop the virus from spreading.”
According to a tally published on March 25 by Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 436,150 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide — including about 19,650 deaths.
Ukraine’s government has widened its state of emergency decree to encompass the entire country due to the spread of the coronavirus.
The 30-day measure was approved on March 25 at a cabinet meeting broadcast live on television.
At the meeting, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the new measures would not hinder individual constitutional rights and only “consolidate efforts to overcome the threat” of coronavirus.
He also proposed a border-closure plan to ban all passenger traffic in and out of the country that would apply to Ukrainian nationals as well.
“This is an urgent need, because in recent weeks, we have seen that the only source of coronavirus penetration into Ukraine has been the flow of citizens from abroad, and this flow continues,” Shmyhal said.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that after March 27 no more flights will be allowed to land or depart from the country, while calling on Ukrainians to come home or risk remaining stranded indefinitely.
“There are two days. Gather yourselves and come home, my dear fellows. And after that, you will remain sitting somewhere in Sri Lanka in a luxurious hut. Well, sit there more, since you decided to do so. Because two weeks have passed from the moment when we got into this situation,” Avakov said.
He added that Ukrainians will still be able to enter Ukraine by foot or in a vehicle.
Previously, only Kyiv and some regions of Ukraine had declared states of emergencies.
Ukraine has reported 145 confirmed virus cases in 13 regions and Kyiv, according to the Center for Public Health. Four lawmakers are among those who have tested positive.
Five deaths have been attributed to COVID-19. The patients’ ages ranged from 33 to 71 years.
The government’s coronavirus task force has admitted to Russia’s first two deaths from the respiratory illness known as COVID-19. Two patients, aged 88 and 73, died on March 25.
The task force has not included the earlier deaths of two other coronavirus patients in Russia as part of its tally, saying they had died of other causes.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin earlier on March 25 ordered provincial governors to move more quickly to provide hospital beds for coronavirus patients.
The government had earlier reported 658 infections, up from 495 a day before, a rise Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said was almost three times higher than the previous average of confirmed cases.
“There are currently 658 cases in 55 regions of Russia. Twenty-nine people have recovered. A total of 112,000 people are being monitored in self-isolation,” Golikova told a meeting of the country’s federal coronavirus operative response group that is coordinating the fight against the coronavirus.