February 1, 2020 / 8:38 PM / a month ago

Russia suspends visa-free tourist travel to and from China over virus

Chinese young women are pictured wearing mask in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Saturday it was suspending visa-free travel for tourists to and from China to help contain the outbreak of a new coronavirus that emerged in China.

A bilateral visa-free regime for tourist groups agreed on in 2000 will suspended from Feb. 2, a government decree said.

Russia will also temporarily stop accepting and issuing documents for work visas to Chinese nationals.

Russia reported its first two cases of coronavirus on Friday and restricted direct flights to China, its biggest trade partner.

The Russian military is to start evacuating Russian citizens from China due to the outbreak.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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