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China hands over coronavirus genome to Russia, enabling scientists to start on vaccine

Russia is in talks with China on evacuating citizens from Hubei province, according to the Consulate General

BEIJING, January 29. /TASS/. China has given Russia the genome of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV, Russia’s Consulate General in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou officially stated Wednesday.

The Russian and Chinese scientists have started developing the vaccine.

"The Chinese side has handed over to Russia the virus genome thus enabling our scientists to quickly prepare snap tests, which can identify the virus in a human body within two hours. The Russian and Chinese specialists have started developing the vaccine," the statement runs.

Russia’s embassy in Beijing is holding talks with China on evacuating Russian nationals only from the central Hubei province, where the largest number of pneumonia cases caused by novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV has been recorded, the Russian Consulate General in Guangzhou revealed.

"Currently, the Russian embassy in China is discussing with China’s authorities the evacuation of only those citizens, who are at the epicenter of the outbreak in the Hubei province (mostly in Wuhan). Staying in this area poses a real threat to life and health. It’s impossible to independently leave it since quarantine has been introduced in the region," the statement reads.

Russia is not planning to evacuate citizens from other provinces, the Consulate General informed, noting that "those willing to leave China could do this independently themselves on a regular basis."

Earlier on Wednesday, the Russian embassy in Beijing reported that it was maintaining contact with 177 Russian nationals currently staying in the Hubei province, including 120 in Wuhan.

According to the latest data, the total number of pneumonia cases caused by a novel coronavirus has reached 6,012, and the death toll has hit 132.

The outbreak of pneumonia caused by novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV was recorded in late December in a major Chinese city Wuhan, home to more than 11 million people.

The new strain of coronavirus has already been identified in almost all Chinese provinces including Beijing and Shanghai as well as in other countries such as Australia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Canada, Malaysia, Nepal, South Korea, Singapore, the United States, Thailand, France, Germany, Sri Lanka and Japan. The World Health Organization recognized the pneumonia outbreak in China as a national emergency but stopped short of declaring it an international one.