March 18, 2020 / 4:51 PM / 21 days ago

Russian courts put most work on pause over coronavirus

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian courts will stop considering all except the most urgent cases from Thursday onwards until April 10 to contain the spread of coronavirus, a decision by the Supreme Court on Wednesday showed.

Urgent cases, which will continue to go up before the courts, include pre-trial decisions on whether to remand suspects in custody, as well as decisions relating to the protection of minors, the document said.

The courts will also suspend individual appointments, advising people to submit documents online and to hold consultations via video link.

Governments around the world have been implementing measures intended to reduce social contact in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

Courts in England and Wales dealing with serious crimes will not start trials if they are likely to last for more than three days, while the U.S. Supreme Court said it would postpone its next session of oral arguments scheduled for later this month.

Russia has reported 147 cases of the coronavirus so far and no deaths, less than many other European countries. But the number of cases has risen sharply in recent days.

Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Polina Ivanova, Editing by William Maclean

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