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China Bars Entry to Russians Over Intensifying Virus Outbreak

China had been easing entry restrictions in recent months. Stringer / EPA / TASS

China has suspended entry for Russians with valid visas and residence permits because of Russia’s spike in coronavirus cases, the Chinese Embassy in Moscow announced Thursday.

China barred entry to all foreign nationals including Russians in March as the virus spread across the world. China, where Covid-19 first emerged late last year and which has largely brought its outbreak under control, had gradually eased these restrictions in recent months.

“Due to the epidemic, we’re announcing a temporary suspension of entry for persons with valid Chinese visas and residence permits involving work, personal issues and family reunification,” the Moscow embassy said.

It exempted Russians who were issued with Chinese visas after Nov. 3, diplomats and holders of “courtesy and service” visas and transport crew-member visas from the entry ban.

“These are temporary measures that China is forced to take in response to the current epidemic situation,” the embassy said on its website, adding that it will “adjust” them when Russia’s outbreak eases.

Russia joins a host of countries China has “temporarily suspended” entry from due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chinese embassies in countries including Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, India, Ethiopia and the Philippines issued similar statements announcing entry bans. 

Record numbers of Russians have been infected and killed by Covid-19 over the past month as the pandemic has shifted to far-flung regions outside Moscow. 

Russia has confirmed the world’s fourth-highest number of Covid-19 infections, totaling 1.7 million after new daily cases approached 20,000 for the first time this week.

Russia suspended entry for Chinese citizens in February in an attempt to prevent the spread of the disease.

AFP contributed reporting.

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