Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said he had signed a decree to close Russia's border in the Far East as part of the effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus from China.
"The Russian Transport Ministry, the Russian Federal Security Service's Border Service, the Russian Federal Customs Service and Rospotrebnadzor [Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare] should temporarily limit passage through checkpoints at certain sections of the Russian Federation's state border with the People's Republic of China, starting January 31, 2020, midnight local time," the decree reads.
Also, Russia has suspended issuing electronic visas to Chinese citizens starting Thursday amid the coronavirus outbreak, the country's Foreign Ministry said.
"From January 30, the issuance of electronic visas is suspended for citizens of the People’s Republic of China to enter the Russian Federation through border checkpoints located in the Far East, the Kaliningrad Region, as well as through air, sea, road and pedestrian checkpoints located in the territories of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region," it said.
The new strain of coronavirus, called 2019-nCoV, was first detected in a seafood market in China's city of Wuhan at the end of last year. Since then it has spread to at least 16 other countries. The virus has claimed the lives of 170 people and left more than 7,700 infected in China.
Many governments have created task forces to fight the spread of the new coronavirus in their countries. Some airline carriers have suspended direct flights to and from China.