Russia closes Far East border with China over coronavirus: report

Russia has closed its Far East border with China, as fear of the deadly coronavirus spreading continues to rise.

The directive was issued by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Russian news agency Tass reports.

"A corresponding instruction was signed today. Work on it is already in progress," Mishustin reportedly said Thursday at a Cabinet meeting.

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"We will inform all those concerned properly about the measures to close the border in the Far Eastern region and other steps the government has taken [to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Russia]," he continued.

The novel coronavirus outbreak began in the Chinese city of Wuhan and since then, nearly 8,000 cases around the world have been reported and 170 people have died, as of Thursday.

Wuhan and 16 other cities in China have been quarantined, affecting an estimated 50 million people. The containment net is the largest quarantine in modern history. The World Health Organization is expected to reconvene on Thursday to decide whether the outbreak should be declared a global emergency.