867 Covid-19 cases on Arctic construction site

By Mike Hayes30 April 2020

Construction at the Novatek LNG 2 project in Arctic Russia

Construction at the Novatek LNG 2 project in Arctic Russia

Russian news agency Tass has reported that the Belokamenka construction site in the Arctic region of Murmansk is in lockdown, following a surge in cases of Covid-19.

At the end of last week, 961 people in the region were confirmed to have contracted the virus, with 791 of them being staff members at the LNG construction project. Yesterday, it was reported that the number of confirmed cases within the compound had risen to 867.

There are currently around 11,000 workers at the site, building a facility to liquefy and load natural gas, as part of the €20 billion Arctic LNG 2 project being developed by Novatek, Russia’s largest private natural gas supplier.

Traffic in and out of the site is now severely restricted, with the site under 24-hour surveillance by Novatek security personnel, the police and the military.

As recently as mid-March, however, it is reported that large numbers of construction workers from China, Turkey and Central Asia had been regularly travelling to and from the site.

The BBC Russian Service recently reported that the cases around the village of Belokamenka constitute “the largest recorded outbreak in Russia.”

Tass reports that a mobile hospital with a capacity of 40 patients has now been established near the site, with x-ray equipment and ventilators.

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