Imported COVID-19 cases surge in route from Moscow to NE China

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/7 14:21:28

Russian freight cars containing timber in Suifenhe, a major Chinese border city with Russia, on September 26, 2018 Photo: IC

 A transport route from Moscow to Northeast China has drawn widespread attention after the Heilongjiang provincial health authority said on Tuesday that another 22 people had been found infected with COVID-19 on Monday. 

All of the imported cases reported were Chinese nationals who returned from Russia through the direct flight SU1700 run by Aeroflot from Moscow to Vladivostok, then to China's Suifenhe Port by chartered bus, said the health authority, noting that all the arrivals were then sent to designated sites for isolation after they arrived at the Suifenhe Port on Saturday.

A total of 20 of the Saturday arrivals were confirmed as COVID-19 cases on Monday, and two asymptomatic patients were also found, said the health authority. 

To deal with the situation, Suifenhe port will be closed from Tuesday to next Monday.

According to the data released by Heilongjiang health authority, imported cases through the Moscow-Vladivostoki-Suifenhe route continued to rise for three consecutive days, after 13 were reported on Saturday and 20 on Sunday.

The Chinese consulate general in Vladivostok issued a warning on Monday through its website, strongly advising Chinese nationals to avoid making the journey along the route, which takes about 11 hours.

"Returnees have to crowd into narrow and enclosed spaces, increasing the risk of cross-infection. So please avoid the long journey," said the consulate general.

A Moscow-based overseas Chinese from Heilongjiang also issued a warning through the WeChat public account of the China volunteers' union in Russia. He urged all Chinese in Russia to strictly observe home isolation and not go out or return to China, as "there have been confirmed cases on almost every recent flight from Russia to China."

The man, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times on Saturday that he reminded overseas Chinese in Russia to return to China as soon as possible following an imported case from Italy reported in Moscow on March 2. "When the pandemic got worse, I told people not to return to China. I've been calling for this for a month."

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