Russia confirms first two coronavirus cases

Russia confirms first two coronavirus cases

In this file photo taken on January 29, 2020 A tourist wearing a medical mask walks along a street in Moscow. AFP

Russia said Friday that two Chinese citizens had tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the country's first cases since the deadly outbreak emerged in China.

The two cases were registered in the Zabaikalsky and Tyumen regions of Siberia, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said in televised remarks.

Golikova sought to downplay the risk of the infection spreading across the country, saying the two patients had been put in isolation.

Golikova, who heads the Russian task force against the spread of the virus, also said Russia would evacuate some citizens from China.

"We are beginning to evacuate Russian citizens from Wuhan and Hubei. Three hundred people from Wuhan and 341 in Hubei," she said, adding that those who return will be quarantined.

Around 2,665 Russians were also on the Chinese resort island of Hainan and were to be brought back to Russia by February 4, Golikova said.

Most flights will be suspended but Russia's flagship carrier Aeroflot will continue to offer services to four Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, Golikova said.

Four Chinese airlines will also continue to offer flights to Russia, she added.

Rail freight and postal service between the two countries will not be affected.

On Thursday, Russia said it was closing the border with China to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus and would stop issuing electronic visas to Chinese nationals.

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