Virus-hit Russian gold mine reports death as army intervenes

A worker at Russia’s largest gold mine has died from coronavirus, the operating company said Thursday, as troops set up quarantine camps to contain a major outbreak at the facility.

More than 140 workers at the Olimpiada mine and processing plant in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk are currently hospitalised and hundreds have tested positive for coronavirus.

The mine operator Polyus confirmed Thursday one of its employees at the site died of the virus.

“Doctors fought for his life for 10 days,” the company told AFP in an email.

The Russian army said it had prepared a camp to quarantine workers at the mine, which employs around 6,000 people, after the outbreak at the mine.

Local health officials said Thursday that 1,191 workers at the Olimpiada mine had tested positive, but more than 90 percent of them were not exhibiting virus symptoms.

Three people hospitalised for the virus were discharged after recovering.

Isolation tents accommodating up to 2,000 people and medical facilities were set up as part of the effort to contain the spread of the virus, Colonel Dmitry Pyatunin of the Central Military District said in a statement.

The defence ministry dispatched a mobile field hospital and 200 servicemen, including 77 doctors and medical specialists, after President Vladimir Putin ordered the military to help deal with the outbreak.

Polyus director Pavel Grachev said on Monday that operations were continuing as usual.

“Employees who are not in quarantine continue to fulfil their duties,” he said during a meeting with the regional governor.

“The fight against infection is coordinated very well.”

Russia has recorded a total of 317,554 coronavirus infections, including 2,821 in the Krasnoyarsk region, with 3,099 deaths nationwide.

While Russia has the second-highest number of confirmed cases after the United States, officials say the situation is stabilising and the mortality rate is low, and industrial workers have been allowed back to work in many parts of the country. (AFP)