MOSCOW, February 2. /TASS/. Russian Railways said on Sunday that it suspended passenger service with China starting from February 3 over the novel coronavirus outbreak.
"In conformity with a letter from the Russia chief state sanitary doctor in charge of ralway transport <…> passenger railway service with China will be temporarily suspended from 00:00 Moscow time on February 3, 2020 to prevent possible proliferation of the novel coronavirus infections into Russia," it said in a press statement.
Railway service between the two countries was suspended from December 31, 2019 but for the section Moscow-Beijing. The direct Moscow-Beijing train that set off from Moscow on February 1 will terminate in Zabaikalsk, RZD said.
Russian Railways reaffirmed that unused tickets for cancelled trains purchased in Russian sales offices can be refunded without any fees.
On December 31, 2019, Chinese authorities informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of an unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, a large trade and industrial metropolis in central China with a population of 11 million. On January 7, 2020, the infecting agent was identified as coronavirus 2019-nCoV.
Cases of the new coronavirus were also reported from 23 other countries, including Australia, Vietnam, India, Canada, the United States and Thailand. On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the new coronavirus outbreak an international public health emergency.
By now, the number of confirmed cases of the disease has exceeded 14,000, with more than 300 dead from this epidemic. One lethal case was reported outside China, in the Philippines.