Russia media claims ‘mystery virus hits country’ – Kremlin denies spread

Russia is reportedly experiencing a mysterious virus outbreak, with long queues of ambulances seen outside hospitals.

But Kremlin officials have denied claims that an “incomprehensible virus” is spreading across the country.

Videos circulating online show huge lines of ambulances waiting outside infectious disease hospitals in Moscow.

The Russian-language Telegram channel Baza, which claims to be linked to the country’s security services, added fuel to the fire by sharing footage of the emergency service vehicles on Sunday, December 17.

Baza reported: “A queue of ambulances at Infectious Diseases Hospitals Number One and Number Two in Moscow. Most of the sick people have pneumonia.”

Baza claimed that about 30 ambulances gathered at the first hospital, and more than 10 at the second. This follows reports from Russian media outlet that an “incomprehensible virus began to spread across Russia”.

The Kremlin’s health department in Moscow moved quickly to calm speculation.

It said in a statement: “The situation when several ambulances arrive for hospitalisation in an infectious diseases hospital is standard. The growth in the incidence of ARVI and COVID-19 in Moscow has slowed down; the figures for the last week do not exceed the data of the previous period.

“And COVID-19 incidence rates have been declining for two weeks. Over the next one to two weeks, the incidence rate is predicted to reach a plateau.”

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According to the department, there’s “no significant increase in hospitalisations in the city”. It also mentioned that the current “morbidity situation is normal and corresponds to the epidemic season.”

The statement continued: “Having up to 24 cars on-site at the same time is standard practice during peak hours and is not a queue or an emergency situation.

“The hospital regularly monitors the arrival of patients; the situation, when there were about 23 cars on the territory, was resolved within half an hour. In [hospital] Number Two, similarly…the presence of 10 cars on the territory is the absolute norm.”

An AI tool was used to add an extra layer to the editing process for this story.

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