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Russia closes off its border, U.S. expands screening to 20 airports

Russia closes off its border, U.S. expands screening to 20 airports

Posted January. 30, 2020 08:03,   

Updated January. 30, 2020 08:03


As the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus speeds up, countries all around the world are scrambling to stop it. Some are closing their borders by halting the operation of inspection offices at border areas near to China.

The U.S. decided Wednesday to increase the number of airports screening for the virus from five to 20 after five U.S. citizens are diagnosed with Wuhan pneumonia. “At this point, Americans should not worry for their own safety,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at a briefing in Washington D.C. on Tuesday. “I won’t hesitate at all to invoke any steps we need to take when appropriate.”

According to U.S. news outlets including CNBC, the White House is considering to put travel restrictions to China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its travel warning from Wuhan to the entire China. United Airlines that has the most routes to China among American airliners announced that it would stop the operation of some routes including Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong from February 1 to 8 due to “a significant drop in demand.” American Airlines and Delta Air Lines did not halt their flights to China but are closely looking into the matter.

Countries contiguous to China including Russia are de-facto closing off their borders. Russian news agency Tass reported that the Russian government decided to halt operation of border inspection offices until early next month. Russia was planning to resume the operation from Thursday because of China’s spring festival holidays started on Friday but decided to extend the lay-off. Local news outlets reported that this measure comes from the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak. Other countries including North Korea and Mongolia also banned entry of Chinese tourists and closed off their borders.

Yong Park parky@donga.com