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Russia closes border with China in Far East over coronavirus

By the morning of Thursday the number of those sick exceeded 7,700; no less than 170 died

MOSCOW, March 14. /TASS/. Russia’s government has ordered to close the Russian-Polish and Russian-Norwegian land border for foreign nationals on Sunday to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, the government said in a statement on Saturday.

"At 00.00 Moscow time on March 15, 2020, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) shall suspend crossings by foreign nationals and stateless persons through the Russian-Polish and Russian-Norwegian land border into the territory of the Russian Federation for purposes of education and employment, as well as for private and tourist purposes, except for citizens of the Republic of Belarus, members of official delegations and persons with a residence permit in the Russian Federation," the document says.

In addition, the Foreign Ministry is tasked with notifying Poland, Norway and other states whose interests might be affected by the implementation of the regulation "of the measures envisaged, emphasizing that they are justified by particular circumstances and are provisional."

On Saturday, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin approved a set of measures aimed at containing the spread of the novel coronavirus infection across Russia.

In late December 2019, a pneumonia outbreak caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus (previously known as 2019-nCoV) was reported in China’s city of Wuhan, an economic and industrial megacity with a population of 12 million. After the coronavirus broke out of China’s Hubei province, it spread across China and then around the world affecting more than 120 countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) characterized the outbreak as a pandemic on March 11. According to the WHO data, around 140,000 cases of patients infected with the novel coronavirus have been confirmed up to now. The virus’ death toll has surpassed 5,000. Russia has 59 coronavirus cases.