Russia's largest oil producer Rosneft has ordered the isolation of two shift camps in the country after a worker tested positive for Covid-19.
The camps — Merkur and Pionerny — are located in the northern part of the Priobskoye oilfield in the Khanty-Mansiysk region in West Siberia.
Deputy governor of the Khanty-Mansiysk region, Alexander Tirtoka, told Moscow business daily Kommersant that an unidentified employee of a service contractor had not gone into isolation after returning from a foreign holiday, and instead arrived to the field.
The employee has disclosed his foreign trip only after he started to exhibit flu-like symptoms and was taken to hospital on 31 March.
Since his arrival, the employee had contacts with numerous employees who live in the two camps, Tirtoka said.
According to local reports, regional health authorities on Wednesday sent 24 people who many have been in contact with the infected individual to a regional hospital for Covid-19 testing, with another 16 workers taken to a separate quarantine location.
Rosneft said that it has also ordered the restriction of movement of equipment and personnel on the Priobskoye field. Orders also prohibit drivers from leaving the cabins of their vehicles during shifts, with the transportation of personnel in privately owned cars also banned.
The oil producer said that it is also increasing medical screening of personnel at the field following the Covid-19 confirmation.
However, the company added that oil production at the deposit continues as usual.
Authorities said that, as of 1 April, eight people in total have been tested positive for Covid-19 in the vast Khanty-Mansiysk region, which is the country’s largest oil-producing province.
Meanwhile, the Russian parliament, the Duma, is preparing to vote for tougher measures against individuals who do not declare their foreign travel to authorities, evade quarantine and spread the infection.
According to amendments to the country’s Criminal Code, fines for such misconduct will grow about ten times to between 500,000 roubles ($6250) to 1 million roubles, while the maximum penalty of improsionment is being increased to seven years from three years.
Priobskoye is one of largest Russian oilfields, with its southern part being developed by state-controlled oil producer Gazprom Neft.