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Coronavirus infection soars, as all Chinese regions affected

The number of those infected reached 7,711

MOSCOW, January 30. /TASS/. The novel 2019-nCoV coronavirus-induced pneumonia saw a sharp spike during the last 24 hours in China. The number of those infected jumped from 6,012 to 7,711, while the amount of deaths surged from 132 to 170.

According to the China’s Ministry of Finance, the government has already allocated some 27.3 bln yuan ($3.96 billion). Earlier reports indicated that the government planned to earmark some 60.3 bln yuan ($8.75 billion).

Outbreak hits all Chinese regions

The pneumonia outbreak has hit all Chinese regions, including the cities of Beijing and Shanghai, but the epidemic’s epicenter is the Hubei province and its capital of Wuhan, a city of 11 million people. The quarantined city accommodates a large number of foreigners. There are 177 Russian nationals across the province at the moment, and 120 of them are in Wuhan.

Foreign nations are discussing evacuation options from Wuhan with the Chinese government. So far, only Japanese and US nationals have been evacuated by emergency flights, while South Korea, Singapore, Canada and a number of other nations are still waiting to get the greenlight.

Among several hundred evacuated Japanese nationals, three were infected with the coronavirus. In total, infection cases were identified in more than 15 nations, yet none have been identified in Russia so far.

Railway service on hold

In order to prevent the infiltration of the coronavirus into Russia, a health emergency response HQ was set up, led by Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova. At the HQ’s first meeting, she announced a decision to suspend railway service with China, with Moscow-Beijing trains being excluded. Earlier, many Russian airlines suspended flights to China.

The world’s largest air carriers also announced suspension of their flights to China, while many foreign companies temporarily closed their Chinese offices. On Wednesday, Google announced a temporary suspension of its Chinese division.

Possible economic consequences

Besides limiting transportation service, Russia and other nations are going to take additional measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including mass medical examinations of passengers coming from China, tightening up the visa system and sanitary control over Chinese meat and plant products.

Following Russia’s example, the United States and Japan have also set up special HQs for fighting the spread of the infection. These HQs also provide estimations on the outbreak’s possible economic consequences. According to the Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far East Yuri Trutnev, the pneumonia situation poses no threat to the Russian economy.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) will conduct its second emergency committee meeting this week. It is possible that, following the conference, the WHO will declare an international emergency.