Russian authorities said Tuesday they will impose a temporary entry ban for all Chinese nationals amid the outbreak of the new virus in China that has infected more than 73,000 people worldwide since December.
The ban goes into effect on Thursday at midnight Moscow time (2100 GMT), according to a decree signed by Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. The measure was taken due to ``worsening epidemiological situation'' in China.
So far, Russia has had only three confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus _ two Chinese citizens who have been treated and released and a Russian national who contracted the illness aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan.
Still, Russian authorities have taken vast measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including hospitalizing hundreds of people who returned from China as a precaution.
Russia has also halted most air traffic to China, suspended all trains to China and North Korea and closed its land border with China and Mongolia.
Moscow has also temporarily stopped issuing work visas to Chinese citizens and told Chinese students who had been studying in Russia not to return until March 1.
Earlier this month, Mishustin also said that Russia may start deporting the foreigners infected with the virus.
In the meantime, Germany is sending a second shipment of medical aid supplies to China to help the Asian giant fight the coronavirus epidemic.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the government would send 8.7 tons of aid supplies worth 150,000 euros ($162,000), including protection gear and disinfectants.
``Germany stands firmly on the side of China in the battle against coronavirus and works closely and trustfully with the Chinese officials,`` Maas said. ``We have the utmost respect for the efforts China has already undertaken.``
The virus, which emerged in central China in December, has killed 1,868 patients in mainland China and five others elsewhere. The World Health Organization has named the illness COVID-19.
C hina has instituted a strict lockdown on over 60 million people in central Hubei province and other nations are taking their own measures _ including mandatory 14-day quarantines _ to stop the virus from getting established on their territory.
Europe has had one virus death among its 47 confirmed cases, an 80-year-old Chinese tourist in Paris who was initially turned away by two French hospitals.
Italy says 14 of 25 Italian crew members aboard the troubled Diamond Princess cruise ship, which has been struck under quarantine in Japan, will take an Italian evacuation military flight home. The other 11, including the captain of the ship, will stay, the Italian Foreign Ministry said. No date for the Italian air force plane's departure for Japan has been decided yet.
The Russian Embassy in Japan announced Tuesday that one Russian is among the 542 people on the Diamond Princess confirmed with the virus. The statement clarified earlier reports about two Russians getting infected.
On Monday, a Russian court sent a woman who had broken out of a locked 14-day hospital quarantine back into quarantine and Russian health authorities are suing others who have defied quarantine requirements.