14:18 GMT19 February 2020
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    MOSCOW - The Russian government suspended on Saturday visa-free group travel with China as well as the issuance of work visas for Chinese citizens over coronavirus concerns.

    "To temporarily suspend visa-free travel for tourists that are envisaged by the agreement between the government of the Russian Federation and the government of the People’s Republic of China on visa-free group travel of 29 February 2000", the government order said.

    The government also ordered the Foreign Ministry to suspend giving out work visas to Chinese citizens, while notifying Beijing that the measures are "caused by special circumstances and are of a purely temporary nature".

    The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on 30 January in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

    The new strain of deadly 2019-nCoV was first detected in Wuhan in late December and has since spread to more than 20 countries. In a bid to avert the disease spread, its authorities have restricted travel and suspended transport services in virus-affected cities and provinces, effectively putting millions of people on lockdown.

    According to the latest official data, the outbreak has killed 259 people in China and infected about 12,000 others. The virus has also spread to over 20 countries.

    Topic:
    2020 Coronavirus Outbreak (160)
    Tags:
    tourism, visa, coronavirus, travel, China, Russia
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