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First coronavirus case confirmed in Moscow

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(Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)

Russian authorities on Monday confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Moscow, saying the patient had recently returned from Italy.

The anti-coronavirus task force said in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies that the “young man” had fallen ill on February 21 while on vacation to Italy.

The man, who resides outside Moscow, returned to Russia on February 23, and started showing signs of a respiratory viral infection, it said.

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He sought medical help and was hospitalised on February 27. Testing confirmed the infection on Monday and his symptoms were not severe, the statement said.

Nearly 90,000 people have been infected in over 60 countries and more than 3,000 people have been killed by COVID-19.

Russia has so far managed to avoid a large number of infections and introduced a range of travel and visa restrictions.

Russia repatriated and quarantined a number of passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, three of whom tested positive for the virus.

Two Chinese citizens in Russia were also infected and treated in Siberia.

Moscow has imposed a near blanket ban on Chinese visitors over coronavirus fears and has closed rail links with China and halted most flights.

Authorities have also announced restrictions on travel to Russia from Iran and South Korea, two countries hit by the outbreak, and most recently advised against all non-essential foreign travel.

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