Closed military naval town in Russian Arctic sees major increase in COVID-19 cases

Severodvinsk is located on the Northern Dvina. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
A total of 169 new cases were registered in Arkhangelsk region over the last 24 hours, more than 150 of them in the strategically important city of Severodvinsk.

The north Russian region of Arkhangelsk has so far appeared to have been spared from the worst outbreaks of the virus. By 1st May, the number of cases in the region was less than 350 and in Severodvinsk – only 16.

That was far less than in the neighboring region of Murmansk where the number was close to 2,000 in that same period.

However, over the last few days, Arkhangelsk has seen numbers increase significantly. And it is Severodvinsk that now is the virus hotbed of the region.

On the 25th May, a total of 156 new cases were registered in the city with a population of 183,000. The lion’s share of the new cases – 136 people – are employees at the city’s two cornerstone companies Sevmash and Zvezdochka, local city authorities inform.

The state enterprises are two of Russia’s biggest shipyards and ship repair plant and employ most of workers in the northern city.

Following President Putin’s decree of 2nd April workers in both yards were given paid leave. However, workers in Sevmash fully returned to work on the 13th April, Sevmash informs.

Sevmash is building all of Russia’s new nuclear submarines. Currently, at least eight new vessels are under construction on site, among them four Borey-class and four Yasen-class subs.

Related stories around the North:

Arctic: Roundup of COVID-19 responses around the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Canada: Arctic Canada: Nunavut government releases COVID-19 reopening plan, CBC News

Greenland/Denmark: COVID-19 could delay Kingdom of Denmark’s Arctic strategy, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Half of Finnish Lapland’s tourism businesses fear failure by winter, Yle News

Greenland: COVID-19: Arctic science expedition postpones flight campaign after trainee tests positive for virus, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Iceland talks COVID-19 with Canada, Greenland foreign ministers, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Growing concern among Nordic officials over increased Arctic border traffic, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Almost 2,000 workers have contracted COVID-19 at this Russian Arctic construction site, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Nordics concerned over COVID-19 spread in Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States: COVID-19 pandemic raises hard questions about health disparities, says Int’l Inuit org, Eye on the Arctic

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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