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Russian FM Lavrov In Finland For Talks On Coronavirus, Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (file photo)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is on an official visit to Finland, where he will discuss the new coronavirus outbreak and Syrian conflict with his counterpart and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

He will hold detailed talks with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto and a separate meeting with the president, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

The ministers will "discuss in a traditional, interested and open manner" topical issues on the bilateral and regional agenda, as well as exchange views on international issues, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Finland has six confirmed cases and Russia has two of the new respiratory virus, according to a daily situation report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 2.

The Geneva-based health organization reported that nine times as many new infections were recorded outside China, where the virus originated in December, as inside the country over the past 24 hours.

Residents in Tehran, Iran's capital, walk downtown wearing masks and gloves on February 27, 2020.
Residents in Tehran, Iran's capital, walk downtown wearing masks and gloves on February 27, 2020.

Clusters of the disease where the WHO says is the greatest concern continued to increase in South Korea, Italy, Japan, and Iran.

Canadian authorities have increased border-screening measures for travelers arriving from Iran, given the growing number of cases linked to that country.

Officials in Tehran have reported infections rising to more than 1,500, with 66 deaths, including a senior official.

The virus has surfaced for the first time in New York, Moscow, and Berlin, as well as Latvia, Malaysia, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, Jordan, and Portugal.

Pakistan on March 3 reported a new virus case, bringing the total to five in the South Asian country since last week, officials said.

Worldwide, more than 3,000 people have died from the illness, and the number of those infected rose to nearly 90,000 in 70 countries on every continent except for Antarctica.

"Containment is feasible and must remain the top priority for all countries," WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

He has described the virus as a "unique" respiratory pathogen capable of community transmission.

With reporting by, TASS, Reuters, AP, and CNN
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