Russia panics as two cases of coronavirus infection reported in Siberia

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Two cases of the new coronavirus infections have been reported in Russia. Both patients are Chinese nationals residing in the Trans-Baikal Territory and in the Tyumen region, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said.

Cases of coronavirus infection have thus been reported in more than 20 countries. Russia will evacuate its citizens from China and reduce the number of flights to the country.

Golikova heads the operational headquarters to control and prevent the arrival and spread of the new coronavirus infection in Russia.

"Two coronavirus patients were identified in Russia - in Trans-Baikal and in Tyumen regions, both are Chinese citizens," Golikova told reporters.

Both of the infected individuals traveled to China in January. The individuals were isolated and placed in a boxed hospital ward.

"One of them was staying on the territory of the PRC for almost a month, having left there on December 28 before returning on January 26. The other person returned to Russia from China on January 28," officials said.

The two patients have no acute symptoms. They had signs of respiratory viral infections and had a slight increase in body temperature. Now their condition is stable, they have no clinical manifestations of the disease.

Russia evacuates its citizens from China

Golikova also announced the beginning of the evacuation of Russian citizens from the city of Wuhan and, in general, from Hubei province, from where the new coronavirus began to spread.

According to her, the Russians will be given a choice:

  • either to stay in China or return to Russia
  • if they choose to return, they will have to spend two weeks in quarantine.

There are about 300 Russian nationals in Wuhan and 341 in the province of Hubei.

"As for organized tours, there are about 2,665 Russian citizens in Hainan. All those citizens will have to return home by February 4. They will be returned by charter flights," said Tatiana Golikova.

There will be no mandatory quarantine for them - with the exception of those who will have any signs of illness or fever, the Deputy Prime Minister explained. According to her, all procedural formalities will be settled in less than 24 hours "and the evacuation will begin immediately."

The evacuation will be carried out by the Ministry of Transport of Russia and the Federal Air Transport Agency. The forces of EMERCOM are not going to be used.

Russia restricts flights with China

In addition, according to Golikova, Russia has limited flights with China. Aeroflot will be the only Russian airline that will preserve all regular flights to China. Regular flights of Chinese airlines will be preserved too.

"We close all aviation frequencies, with the exception of Aeroflot's, which will fly regular flights to four Chinese cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. By agreement with the People's Republic of China, four Chinese airlines fly to Moscow, and they will continue working on a regular basis" Golikova said.

On Jan, 31, Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport moved all flights departing or arriving from China to Terminal F.

It is not planned to stop mail and cargo transportation with China, said Golikova.

In addition to Aeroflot, S7 and Ural Airlines perform regular flights to China. Air China, China Southern, China Eastern, Beijing Capital, Hainan Airlines fly from China to Moscow's Sheremetyevo.

The Russian ruble has declined moderately against the dollar and the euro amid the news of first cases of the new coronavirus infection in Russia.

Coronavirus causes international panic

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the outbreak of coronavirus as a state of emergency of global scale.

The new virus has killed already more than 210 people and infected almost 10,000 in China. According to WHO, 98 infected were identified in 18 other countries, but there were no fatalities. Symptoms of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath. Russia became the 23rd country in the world where the coronavirus from China was reported.