Russia plans to deport foreigners diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said Monday, as the government postponed an investment forum over the deadly infection.
“Now it’s been added to the list of especially dangerous illnesses. That will allow us to deport foreign citizens if they are diagnosed with such an illness,” Mr Mishustin said at a televised government meeting.
He also said that an annual investment forum in Sochi that was due to take place in mid-February would be postponed.
“First and foremost we have to think about the safety and health of our citizens [and] forum participants,” Mr Mishustin added.
Russia has two confirmed cases of the virus and both are Chinese citizens being treated in Siberian hospitals.
“The sick people who have been diagnosed with the dangerous infection have been isolated and doctors today are giving them all the necessary assistance,” Mr Mishustin said.
One of the confirmed cases, a Chinese man told local media he was unhappy with hospital conditions in the eastern Siberian city of Chita and was not immediately informed he tested positive.
“The situation is under control,” Mr Mishustin said, noting measures to close land borders and halt visa-free tourism and work visas for Chinese people.
He stressed the importance of facemasks and medicines remaining readily available without pharmacies hiking prices.
Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said more than 900 Russians flew back from China in the last two days on charter and regular flights and Russia is set to evacuate some 130 people from Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic.
The virus has infected more than 17,000 people in China and killed more than 360.