08:03 GMT26 February 2020
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    Russian netizens earlier in the day spread controversial rumors claiming that a person who had allegedly contracted the new Wuhan coronavirus - dubbed 2019-nCoV - was urgently hospitalized in a Moscow clinic.

    The office of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova - who chairs special Russian task force group on the Wuhan coronavirus - has not confirmed the reports about the first case of infection in Moscow.

    "We do not confirm this information", the office said on late Thursday, adding that the special unit will gather on Friday to focus on additional measures to prevent new coronavirus spread.

    "On 31 January, the emergency response center will hold a meeting to discuss additional measures on preventing and fighting the [new] coronavirus in Russia", Golikova said, as quoted by her office.

    Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin approved earlier the composition of the emergency response team that will be tasked with preventing the novel coronavirus from spreading into the country.

    Mishustin has also enacted the shutdown of the national border in the Far East as part of the effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus from China.

    Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said earlier this week that hotels and places of mass stay of tourists in the city were taken under special control in connection with the spread of the coronavirus.

    The new deadly strain of coronavirus was first detected last December in China’s Wuhan and has since spread to 19 countries. The epidemic has already left 170 people dead in China as well as over 7,800 more infected globally. Russia has not registered any confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.

    On Thursday, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern over the outbreak of coronavirus.

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