Chinese citizens have faked reports suggesting they do not have the coronavirus so they can board flights back home from Russia, Beijing’s envoy to Moscow warned this weekend.
The South China Morning Post reported that the Chinese embassy in Moscow has now issued two almost identical warnings, the first on May 29 and again on Sunday, claiming that Chinese citizens were forging negative nucleic acid test results required to return to their home country.
According to the Post, the embassy complained that the forgeries had “caused great harm to the health and safety of the passengers and crews of the flights, and undermined China’s domestic epidemic prevention work.” They added that the counterfeiters were under investigation and would “bear corresponding legal responsibilities.”
The statement, posted on the embassy’s WeChat account on Monday, did not specify where the flights had departed from or their destinations.
Russia remains one of the most severely affected country’s worldwide by the coronavirus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, having reported nearly 600,000 cases and 8,359 deaths. According to state media, there are between 200,000 and 300,000 Chinese living in Russia, representing just a fraction of a percent of the country’s population of 144.5 million people.
As a result of the high number of cases in Russia, Chinese authorities have faced an uphill battle trying to stop imported cases from their neighbor, with officials previously declaring that preventing border crossings was essential to preventing a resurgence of the virus.
The 4,200km border between the two countries has been closed for much of this year as a result of the pandemic, with Russia closing its border in late February as infection rates reached their peak, and in late February banned all Chinese citizens from entering the country.
Beijing claims that, despite an ongoing outbreak in the capital, China has gotten its localized epidemic under control and blames foreigners for new cases. Allegedly to prevent new outbreaks, China closed its border with Russia in early April and has kept it shut ever since. It has also imposed a ban on Russians entering the country via air travel, although they are still providing limited flights to Chinese nationals. It is through this system that those infected with the coronavirus have been able to land on Chinese soil.
This month, officials Chinese border city of Mudanjiang ordered mass nucleic testing for around 600,000 residents in an attempt to identify any hidden resurgence in cases.