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02 Feb 2020 | 08:27 PM UTC

Russia: State railway suspends trains to China February 3 /update 5

Russian Railways cancels trains to China as of February 3, amid novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak; further spread of the virus expected in the near term

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health
transportation
RUS

Event

The state-run Russian Railways announced on Sunday, February 2, that it will cancel train service to China effective 00:00 (local time) on Monday, February 3, due to health concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. This includes services from Moscow to Beijing and from Chita - Zabayklask to Beijing.

According to government officials, the Russian Air Force will evacuate Russian citizens from China between Monday, and Tuesday, February 4. There are currently 300 Russian nationals in Wuhan, where the virus originated, and another 341 in surrounding areas of Hubei province.

Authorities also announced that issuance of work visas to Chinese citizens would be temporarily halted, and visa-free travel for Chinese tourist groups would be suspended amid the outbreak as of Sunday, February 2.

Further international spread of the 2019-nCoV virus is to be expected over the coming days and weeks. Additional travel interruptions and screening measures at travel hubs are also likely in the short term.

Context

The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in more than 25 countries and territories worldwide. Human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in Germany, Japan, the US, and Vietnam. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the ongoing novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak is a "public health emergency of international concern."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

  • Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
  • Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
  • Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask
  • Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments
  • Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease