Russia bans entry of all Chinese nationals amid coronavirus outbreak

Russian government issues decree, says epidemiological situation in China worsening

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Russia has reported two domestic cases of COVID-19. (Pixabay photo)

Russia has reported two domestic cases of COVID-19. (Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Russian government has banned all Chinese citizens from entering the country, saying the decision was made due to the "worsening epidemiological situation" in China.

The new travel restriction will go into effect Thursday (Feb. 20), according to a decree signed by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said in a statement that for an indefinite period of time, no Chinese nationals would be permitted to cross the Russian border or obtain work permits or visas in the Russian Federation, reported Liberty Times.

As of Wednesday morning (Feb. 19), the transcontinental country has reported two domestic infections of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), and both patients were Chinese citizens. The Russian government stressed that many Chinese nationals have continued to enter its territory since the outbreak and that the new measure aims to protect its citizens from contracting the virus.

Following suspension of all trains to China and North Korea in January, Russia has also halted most of its flights to China. According to Reuters, Aeroflot, the only Russian carrier still operating flights to the country, announced Monday (Feb. 17) that it had canceled half of its flights to Beijing and Shanghai until March 28.