MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. Russia’s government has suspended visa-free tourist travel to China over the outbreak of pneumonia caused by virus 2019-nCoV, says the directive published on the Russian government’s site on Saturday.
"Pursuing the goal of ensuring security of the state, protecting the public health and preventing spread of the new coronavirus infection (2019-nCoV) in the Russian Federation, visa-free tourist trips, which are envisioned in the agreement between the government of the Russian Federation and the government of the People’s Republic of China on visa-free tourist travel, shall be suspended," the directive says.
The Russian Foreign Ministry is instructed to temporarily suspend services of receiving documents and of processing and issuing working visas to Chinese nationals.
"Russia’s Interior Ministry and its territorial bodies shall temporarily suspend the receipt of documents, execution and issuance of invitations to enter the Russian Federation for employment purposes to citizens of the People's Republic of China, along with permits to hire foreign workers and work permits for above mentioned citizens, located outside the Russian Federation," the document says.
The Government also issued an instruction, which says that the Russian Transport Ministry alongside the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Federal Customs Service are tasked with "temporarily barring citizens of the People's Republic of China from entering via crossing points at designated sections of the state border of the Russian Federation with Mongolia."
The Russian Foreign Ministry is entrusted with notifying Mongolia, China and other states about these measures, since their interests can be affected due to the implementation of the directive, and to emphasize that the measures have been triggered by extraordinary circumstances and are exclusively provisional.
On December 31, 2019 the Chinese authorities reported to the World Health Organization about an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown etiology in Wuhan, a major trading and industrial center with a population of 11 million. The virus - 2019-nCoV - was identified on January 7. Apart from China, 23 other countries, including Russia, have reported confirmed coronavirus cases. The WHO declared the new coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Up to now, China has confirmed over 11,700 cases of patients infected with the novel coronavirus, while the death toll from the virus has hit 259.