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Russia Closes Far East Border Over Coronavirus

Prime Minister Mishustin closed Russia's border with China to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Kirill Zykov / Moskva News Agency

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has ordered the closure of the country's Far East border to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus, the state-run TASS news agency reported Thursday.

“The order was signed today and has taken effect,” Mishustin said as quoted by TASS.

“We’ll inform everyone today about the border-closure measures in the Far East region and other activities taken by the Russian government [on coronavirus prevention],” he said.

Sixteen out of the 25 crossings along the Russian-Chinese border will be closed as of midnight Jan. 31, the decree said.

Russia has also suspended the issuing of electronic visas to Chinese nationals, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Russia hasn’t registered any cases, despite numerous scares, of the rapidly spreading epidemic that has killed 170 people.

Earlier this week, Russia blocked tourist groups from China from entering the country.

Countries began isolating hundreds of citizens evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan on Thursday to stop the epidemic’s spread. Moscow has been in talks with Beijing about evacuating its nationals from Wuhan and Hubei province.

Infections have been reported in at least 16 other countries, but no deaths have occurred outside China.

Some airlines have suspended flights to China, including British Airways, Lufthansa, Air Canada and American Airlines.

This story is being updated.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

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