Russia on Wednesday extended an entry ban for foreigners to slow the coronavirus as the country registers a steep rise in the number of new infections. 

The decree barring foreigners from entering the country, which was introduced in mid-March and set to expire Thursday, was extended until Russia has the virus under control, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said.

“I have signed a government resolution on extending it until the fight against the infection is over and the epidemic situation has improved,” he told officials meeting to discuss Russia’s response to the pandemic.

Health officials in Russia have registered a steady increase in new coronavirus cases, with more than 99,000 confirmed infections and 972 deaths. 

Mishustin said the entry ban would carry exemptions for specialists who do maintenance on imported equipment.

This would “reduce the negative impact” on companies that manufacture equipment to combat coronavirus infection, he explained.

President Vladimir Putin warned Tuesday that Russia had not yet reached the peak of coronavirus infections and extended lockdown measures in the country for two weeks. 

In a video conference with regional governors, Putin said Russia had managed to slow the spread of the pandemic, but cautioned that “this should not reassure us.”