Russian authorities will impose a temporary entry ban for all Chinese nationals amid the outbreak of coronavirus that has infected more than 73,000 people worldwide since December.
The ban goes into effect on Thursday at midnight Moscow time, according to a decree signed by Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
The measure was taken due to “worsening epidemiological situation” in China.
"We have now had cases of #COVID19 outside #China for more than a month. We are supporting national authorities in every country that has cases to track the virus and understand how people were infected"-@DrTedros #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/0WIxo1urrc
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) February 18, 2020
So far, Russia has had only three confirmed cases of the Covid-19 disease caused by the virus — two Chinese citizens who have been treated and released and a Russian national who contracted the illness aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan.
Still, Russian authorities have taken vast measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including hospitalising hundreds of people who returned from China as a precaution.
Russia has also halted most air traffic to China, suspended all trains to China and North Korea and closed its land border with China and Mongolia.
Moscow has also temporarily stopped issuing work visas to Chinese citizens and told Chinese students who had been studying in Russia not to return until March 1.
Earlier this month, Mr Mishustin also said that Russia may start deporting the foreigners infected with the virus.
The virus, which emerged in central China in December, has killed 1,868 patients in mainland China and five others elsewhere.
China has instituted a strict lockdown on over 60 million people in central Hubei province and other nations are taking their own measures — including mandatory 14-day quarantines — to stop the virus from getting established on their territory.