Russia closes land border with China amid coronavirus outbreak

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has announced a suite of sweeping measures to include shutting down its far eastern land border with China and implementing visa restrictions amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The declaration was made on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin called for officials to do everything within their power to prevent the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from reaching Russia.

Russia’s far east is the Eurasian country’s largest and most remote region and borders with China along a heavily populated interior.

In a statement on Thursday (Jan. 30), the Russian Foreign Ministry indicated that effective immediately, border checkpoints will be maintained in the Far East and Kaliningrad as well as at all entry points in the Leningrad region and second-largest city St. Petersburg.

The issuance of electronic visas to Chinese citizens has been indefinitely suspended, with the Foreign Ministry further advising Russians to avoid trips to China – unless ‘absolutely vital’.

So far, Russia has no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.

China continues to struggle in the face of the 2019-nCoV epidemic; as of Thursday, the Asian superpower has over 7,700 confirmed cases and a death toll of over 170.

In the last 24 hours, 38 Chinese patients died from the new coronavirus.