Russia to Close Border with China Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) first came to the attention of the World Health Organization on December 31, 2019, after a number of suspected pneumonia cases were reported in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. One week later, the mystery illness was confirmed to be a new strain of coronavirus, the same family of diseases as severe accute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). 

Wuhan, a city of over 10 million people, went into lockdown on January 23, in order to curb the spread of the virus. It was also announced that the Chinese New Year holiday will be extended in order to contain the spread of the respiratory disease. 

The death toll from the coronavirus now stands at 170, with nearly 7,800 confirmed cases reported. 

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Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around China over the past 24 hours:

UPDATE (January 30, 2020 10.18pm CST): Russia will close its border with China, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said on Thursday, according to state-run TASS news agency. Sixteen of the 25 crossings along the two countries border, which stretches over 4,000 kilometers, will be closed as of midnight on January 31 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, The Moscow Times reports. Russia is also suspending the issuing of electronic visas to Chinese nationals in light of the outbreak. 

In Italy, a cruise ship has been placed on lockdown as two suspected cases of the coronavirus have prevented more than 6,000 people from disembarking. A 54-year-old woman from Macao has been put into isolation after she came down with a fever. Both the woman and her husband have been quarantined as doctors await test results.

UPDATE (January 30, 2020 7.30pm CST): Ikea will be temporarily closing its doors on the Chinese mainland as the coronavirus outbreak continues, according to a spokeswoman for Ikea China, as cited by CNN. The company operates 30 brick-and-mortar stores across China, including one store in Wuhan, where the outbreak started in December. There are 7,830 confirmed cases in the PRC as of Thursday night.

UPDATE (January 30, 2020 10.55am CST): According to media reports, the Canadian government is formulating a plan to extract its citizens from China amid the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak. Canadas foreign affairs minister, Francois-Philippe Champagne, recently told reporters in Ottawa that the government has secured a plane to evacuate Canadians and is in the process of hammering out the logistics of the operation.

We have secured an aircraft that could bring those Canadians who wish to leave back to Canada, said Champagne, according to Global News.

Image via Pixabay

Global News has reported that 160 citizens of Canada have requested consular assistance in China; Champagne stated that he could not comment on whether any of the 160 Canadians have experienced symptoms of the virus.

Several other nations, including the United States and France, have already begun evacuating their citizens from Wuhan ground zero of the new coronavirus outbreak.

Also of note: Canada has upgraded its travel advisory for China, warning its citizens to avoid non-essential travel to the country. The Canadian government is also urging its citizens to avoid all travel to Hubei province.  

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