CHELYABINSK, Russia -- Officials in the central Russian region of Chelyabinsk have closed all schools and kindergartens due to a flu pandemic, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
Chelyabinsk Oblast Hygiene Inspector-General Anatoly Semyonov on January 28 ordered all schools and kindergartens in the region to close until February 5.
All public cultural and sporting events were also banned in the region due to the flu outbreak.
Earlier this month, Chelyabinsk Oblast authorities unsuccessfully tried to stop the flu pandemic by introducing mandatory surgical masks for people working in some professions.
By January 26, the number of flu patients in the oblast was 11,723. Nearly 30 patients had been diagnosed with swine flu.
Since January 1, five people have died of the flu in the Chelyabinsk region, including a woman who had just given birth, and a soldier.
The Chelyabinsk Oblast, which borders Kazakhstan, has a population of some 3.6 million people.Read more in Russian here