The global death toll from the coronavirus has almost reached 19,000 with more than 425,000 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.


The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Russia has jumped by 163 over the past 24 hours to 658, with 120 of the new cases in Moscow alone.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said on March 26 that the increase 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.

The same number appeared on the government’s official website dedicated to the coronavirus outbreak in Russia.

As of March 25, Russian authorities had not reported any coronavirus deaths. A 79-year-old woman who was diagnosed with COVID-19 died last week at a Moscow infectious disease hospital. At first, Moscow health authorities said the death was virus related, but officials quickly changed the cause of death to a blood clot, not the coronavirus.

However, a tally by Johns Hopkins University in the United States lists one coronavirus death in Russia.


Pakistan has announced it is halting all domestic passenger flights to stop the spread of the coronavirus after reporting 1,000 cases in the country.

The domestic flight ban will begin on March 26, civil aviation spokesman Abdul Sattar Khokhar said.

Islamabad had previously cut train service and international flights.

Most of those who initially tested positive were Pakistani pilgrims returning from neighboring Iran, which has seen the Mideast’s worst outbreak of the coronavirus.

However, officials now say the virus is being reported in people who had no travel history.

As of March 25, 1,000 people have tested positive for the virus in Pakistan, with seven deaths and 19 full recoveries, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University in the United States.

With reporting RFE/RL’s Russian Service, AP,, Reuters, and Interfax

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