Moscow, Apr 8: The city of Suifenhe in China's Heilongjiang province, which borders Russia, has identified 25 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus among Chinese nationals who have traveled from Russia, the local health commission said in a statement on Wednesday.
"On April 7, the province added 25 new imported cases [to its statistics]. They are all Chinese nationals and came from Russia," the Heilongjiang Province Health Commission said in a statement.
According to the statement, all of the confirmed patients had traveled from the Russian capital of Moscow to Vladivostok before transferring to the Pogranichny-Suifenhe checkpoint at the border between the two countries.
As of Wednesday, the province has reported 87 confirmed imported COVID-19 cases with another 144 asymptomatic cases, the statement added. In China's official COVID-19 statistics, asymptomatic cases are listed separately and are not included in the total number of confirmed cases.
In response to the growing number of imported cases in the city, local authorities said in a statement on Tuesday that they planned to lock down all the residential buildings in the city beginning on Wednesday.
Both countries also agreed to shut down the Pogranichny-Suifenhe checkpoint for passenger traffic temporarily starting on Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
The Chinese consulate in Vladivostok issued a statement through its official WeChat account on Wednesday urging Chinese nationals to refrain from traveling to the Primorsky Territory in Russia’s Far East, as all the land border crossings in the region have already been shut down.
As the number of COVID-19 cases began to rise in Russia in recent weeks, a growing number of Chinese nationals tried to return home. After the number of direct flights between the two countries has significantly fallen amid the global pandemic, many Chinese nationals decided to fly from Moscow to Vladivostok before trying to cross the border at the Pogranichny-Suifenhe checkpoint. SPUTNIK