Flights to Moscow from the Chinese city of Wuhan have been suspended over fears about the spread of a previously unknown coronavirus strain, Interfax news agency cited an unnamed source as saying on Friday.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday declared the new coronavirus an emergency for China but stopped short of declaring the epidemic of international concern.
Prior to the suspension, Russian airports stepped up screenings of travelers from China after hundreds of people were infected in an outbreak of the virus, with 17 reported deaths. Russia’s deputy health minister called the disease a biological threat to the country earlier this week.
Russia has already had a coronavirus scare, as two patients were hospitalized Wednesday in St. Petersburg with symptoms of the coronavirus. The two men had sparked a medical scare after arriving at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport on a flight from Shanghai with symptoms of the deadly virus.
They were sent to St. Petersburg’s Botkin Hospital for Infectious Diseases for medical tests after showing signs of a viral respiratory infection, but were were not found to be carrying the disease, Russia's Health Ministry was cited as saying by the state-run TASS news agency.