ASTRONAUTS preparing for an international space mission are taking strict precautions to make sure that they don't bring coronavirus to space.
While it’s standard practice for NASA to enforce safety practices ahead of space missions, extra steps are now in place to specifically address the COVID-19 outbreak.
NASA’s Chris Cassidy and Russian astronauts Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin have started their quarantine earlier than usual due to the current pandemic.
The astronauts are prohibited from leaving the Star City training centre outside of Moscow ahead of their April 9 mission to the International Space Station, the Telegraph reported.
The head of Star City, Pavel Vlasov, confirmed the quarantine was fast-tracked because of the pandemic.
He also revealed the astronauts will skip the traditional ceremonial tour that’s been customary ahead of space launches since 1961.
Mr Vlasov said: “The crews are not making any trips out, even such traditional ones as visiting the Kremlin wall and the house of Sergei Korolyov on the eve of departure for Baikonu.”
The first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, is buried beside the Kremlin wall.
Sergei Korolyov was a key engineer for the first space launch.
It comes as 28 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Russia, most of which are in Moscow.
Tours of Star City have also been cancelled in the midst of the outbreak.
The International Space Station is currently cleared of COVID-19.
The last spacecraft carrying people docked in September.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak a global pandemic this week, as more than 140,000 people have been diagnosed with the killer bug across 114 countries.
More than 5,000 people have died – around 3,000 of them in China – after contracting COVID-19 across the globe.
WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the medical body has "rung the alarm bell loud and clear".
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