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Russia ramps up safety measures over Coronavirus fears

Vladimir Putin with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin (Администрация Президента России/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The mayor of Moscow says special safety measures have been put in place at hotels and tourist sites due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak in China.

“We have taken special control of hotels and other places where tourists gather en masse. When alarming signs appear, emergency medical teams will be sent to carry out a thorough examination,” Sergei Sobyanin wrote on his website on January 28.

The announcement comes a day after Dmitry Gorin of the Association of Russian Tour Operators said Russian tour operators had stopped selling package holidays to China.

The death toll from the flu-like virus rose to 106 in China with more than 4,500 cases confirmed. The new virus has spread across China and to at least 16 countries. Russia, which shares a 4,300-kilometer border with China, has not had any confirmed cases so far.

As governments scrambled to control the spread of the virus, three regions in Russia’s Far East closed their borders with China until February 7, TASS quoted the governor of the Khabarovsk region as saying.

The closures affect crossings in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast and the Khabarovsk and Amur regions, the news agency reported.

Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy in Beijing advised citizens studying in Chinese universities who are currently home for the holidays to return to China only after the country’s authorities officially announce the start of the next semester.

Chinese authorities have prolonged the winter break due to the virus outbreak.