Russian regions bordering China are introducing additional security measures to avoid the spread of a new type of coronavirus, regional officials informed TASS.
The majority of border crossings in the Far East suspended their work since January 24 due to Chinese New Year, set to reopen on January 30; however, on agreement with the Chinese government, the break will last until February 1. Officials have established a temporary corridor for 194 Russian tourists, 17 Chinese nationals with a Russian residence permit, and two Ethiopian citizens, who returned from China’s Heihe to the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk.
In Russia’s Primorsky Region, only railway border crossings are functioning currently, the Ussuriysk customs press service told TASS. In order to stabilize the situation, Yakutia and Nord Star companies cancelled flights to the Chinese city of Sanya, the companies’ representatives informed.
The demand for protective masks in border regions has risen, local pharmacy chains informed TASS. "Since the start of last week, there has been a high demand for flu medicine and other means of protection against acute respiratory viral infection. Until January 24, we detected only a slight increase in sales, mostly of medicine, however, on Saturday and Sunday, people began buying it in bulk along with respirator masks. We are expanding our stock, buying additional products, we are staying on top of it," a representative of Monastyryov, a local pharmacy chain in the Primorsky Region, told TASS.
About the virus
On December 31, 2019, Chinese authorities informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of an unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan - a large trade and industrial center in central China populated by 11 million people. On January 7, Chinese experts identified the infecting agent: coronavirus 2019-nCoV.
In the past 24 hours, there has been a sharp rise in the number of people infected with the new type of coronavirus originating from China’s Wuhan. According to recent data, 4,547 people have been infected with the virus, with 106 people dead.
The virus continues to spread in China and other states, including Australia, Canada, Vietnam, Germany, Cambodia, Malaysia, Nepal, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the USA, Thailand, France, Sri Lanka and Japan. The WHO recognized the pneumonia outbreak in China as a national emergency but stopped short of declaring an international one.
Russian companies are cancelling flights to the most popular tourist destinations in China, including Hainan, while some carriers, such as Aeroflot and S7, are offering free refunds for tickets to China scheduled until late February. Russian tour operators are preparing to evacuate about 6-7,000 Russian tourists from China.