Russia halts all passenger train services with China
Russian Railways, Russia’s largest state-run train operator, announced that it is expanding the temporary suspension of passenger trains connecting China and Russia to include a direct link between the capitals of the two countries.
All passenger trains between China and Russia, including a direct Moscow-Beijing link, will stop running from Monday due to the coronavirus outbreak. It’s unclear when the ban will be lifted.
The measure came into effect at midnight on Monday, Moscow time [9:00pm GMT Sunday].
Trains that embarked on their journey from Moscow to Beijing on Saturday would go no further than Zabaykalsk, a city in Russia located on the Sino-China border, the operator said.
On Friday, Russian Railways halted almost all services between Russia and China, with the sole exception of Moscow-Beijing trains. It is unclear when the railway service will be resumed, with the company saying that operations will be on hold until “special notice.”
With the death toll from the novel coronavirus epidemic in China reaching 361 on Sunday, and the number of confirmed cases surpassing 17,000, Moscow has been rolling out travel restrictions on those coming from its southeastern neighbor.
In a bid to prevent the spread of the deadly virus, Russia has already closed its Far Eastern border with China, halting the issuance of work visas to Chinese citizens, and suspending visa-free travel for Chinese tourist groups. The latter move, however, only applies to Chinese nationals, with Russian tourists being exempted. Some 650 Russians who became stranded in Hubei Province, the center of the outbreak, will be brought home on military aircraft. Every returnee will face 14 days of quarantine.
Russia has also suspended preferential travel for Chinese citizens to Russia through Mongolia, and restricted flights from China to Terminal F of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Most of the outbound flights were canceled, apart from direct routes to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong operated by Russian carrier Aeroflot.
So far, there have been two confirmed coronavirus cases in Russia. Both patients are Chinese citizens.