China tightens border control with Russia due to increased coronavirus cases

Authorities in Heilongjiang Province in northern China are stepping up control measures on the border with Russia due to the increase in the number of imported coronavirus cases, reported the Chinese newspaper Renmin Ribao.

Because of the increase in such cases, the provincial authorities extended the closure of the Suifenhe (Heilongjiang- Primorye) border crossing, with the exception of freight traffic. The rules for the inspection of goods have been tightened. All arrivals are required to pass the COVID-19 test. China's international radio reports that the Border Crossings "Hunchun -Kraskino" and "Dunnin-Poltavka" will also remain closed. Passenger service through the Manchuria-Sabaikalsk checkpoint has been closed since April 8.

2,497 people have arrived in the town of Suifenhe, where the border crossing is located, since the beginning of the pandemic. "The proportion of patients with COVID-19 was very high, with 10 to 20% in each batch of arrivals. In some parties, this ratio was even higher," Yu Kaijiang, the head of the local medical brigade, was quoted as saying by Renmin Jibao. He noted that they all had the symptoms showing that they got the infection in Russia. "All seriously ill with COVID-19sare patients who started to have a fever or cough in Russia. They returned to China, having overcome a long way," the newspaper writes.

Bloomberg, citing the Chinese state TV channel CCTV, reports that in Heilongjiang Province, which borders on several Russian regions (Primorsky Krai, the Jewish Autonomous Region and the Amur region), 24-hour border patrols have been introduced. A new hospital has been opened in the region to receive the infected patients and medical professionals with experience in Hubei Province have been brought in. Authorities imposed a 28-day quarantine for all visitors in Suifenhe and the provincial capital, Harbin. In Suifenhe, measures similar to those in Wuhan have been introduced.

According to China's National Health Commission, most of the new cases in the country, where the spread of the infection has almost stopped, are imported. According to Reuters, of the 108 new patients registered in China on April 12, 98 entered from abroad. Among them are 49 Chinese citizens who returned to the country from Russia across the northern border. The Russian consulate in the province also reported cases of infection among Chinese citizens returning from Russia.

According to Reuters, after the restriction of Russia's air traffic with China, ground crossing points remained one of the few options for returning to the country for Chinese citizens.

The infected arrive in China from Russia also by plane. The flights between Russian and China still contine after the tightening of quarantine measures. Of the 97 new infections reported by Chinese authorities on Sunday morning, 51 were airline passengers, which arrived in Shanghai from Moscow on April 10.

Doctors in Shanghai have previously warned of the threat of a new wave of pandemic in autumn-winter 2020. China's leading epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan noted that the probability of spread of the virus inside the country is unlikely due to the measures already taken but pointed out that a new surge in cases can happen due to the people coming from other countries.

According to official data on April 13, 28 cases of infection have been detected in the Primorsky Krai bordering China, and six cases have been detected in the Amur region. A total of 18,328 COVID-19 patients have been identified in Russia. Taking into account the new data, Russia ranked 15th in terms of the number of patients, ahead of Portugal, where 16.5 thousand cases have been reported.

  coronavirus, China, Russia