Finland-Russia Railway Transport Halted Due to Virus Outbreak

Finnish railway operator VR said on Tuesday that passenger train services between Finland and Russia will be temporarily halted amid the coronavirus upon the two countries’ decision on limiting travel through the border, RIA Novosti reports

“According to Russia’s decision, foreigners won’t be able to get there after 23:00 Finnish time on March 17 (midnight Moscow Time on March 18). The last trains Allegro (between Helsinki and St. Petersburg) and Leo Tolstoy (between Helsinki and Moscow) will operate to bring Finnish and Russian nationals back home,” the company said.

The Allegro trains will operate as normal until March 18. The last train from Helsinki to St. Petersburg will depart at 19:00 local time (20:00 Moscow Time) and from St. Petersburg to Helsinki at 20:30 Moscow Time. “Leo Tolstoy, which runs once per day, will depart for the last time from Helsinki on March 18 at 17:44 local time (18:44 Moscow Time),” the company noted.

On Monday, Finland started preparing for closing borders over the coronavirus. The border will be closed until April 13, Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced. The number of novel coronavirus cases in Finland has risen to 272. The first coronavirus case was recorded in the country in January.

The outbreak of a disease caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was registered in central China in late December 2019. The World Health Organization labeled the novel coronavirus as a pandemic on March 11. Outside China, the worst affected countries are Italy, South Korea, and Iran. Overall, more than 130 countries, including Russia, have reported confirmed coronavirus cases. According to the latest data, the novel coronavirus cases globally have hit nearly 180,000, with over 7,000 deaths. According to the Russian anti-coronavirus task force, 93 coronavirus cases have been registered in the country.