MOSCOW, February 6. /TASS/. Over 1,700 Russian citizens are waiting to leave China by February 29, the Russian Ministry of Transport informs.
"In total, there are 1,765 Russian nationals with tickets dated February 6 to February 29, they are waiting to return to Russia," the message says.
The ministry added that 1,135 passengers were set to fly with S7 Airlines, a Russian carrier that cancelled all flights to China. They are expecting to be put on a different flight or to get their money back, the ministry explained.
Russian airlines operated 51 flights between Russia and China in the period from February 1 to February 5, including 26 charter flights. Chinese carriers operated 11 regular flights in the same period. The Russian Ministry of Transport informed that today, one charter flight and six regular flights are planned, with three additional flights operated by Chinese carriers.
Only two Russian carriers continue to operate flights to China currently: Aeroflot and Ural Airlines. Ural Airlines will cancel all flights to and from China starting February 7.
On February 1, Russia partly suspended air service with China, cancelling all regular flights except those operated by Aeroflot. The Russian Ministry of Transport allowed charter flights between Russia and China to transport Russian citizens remaining in China back home. Starting February 14, all charter flights between both countries will be suspended.
On December 31, 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 center in central China populated by 11 million people. On January 7, Chinese experts identified the infecting agent - coronavirus 2019-nCoV. The virus spread to 24 more countries apart from China - Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, India, Italy, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak in China a global health emergency.
Currently, the total number of people infected with coronavirus exceeded 28,000 in China with over 560 people reported to have died from the disease. Meanwhile, over 1,100 people are said to have recovered from it.