MOSCOW, January 31. /TASS/. Numerous airlines have cancelled flights to China due to the outbreak of a new type of coronavirus (2019-nCoV), while airlines that still fly to China are applying special security measures to protect the health of their passengers.
The US-based carrier American Airlines suspended flights between Los Angeles (California) and various Chinese cities from February 9 to March 27. Currently, the Allied Pilots Association (APA) is demanding that American Airlines also cancel flights between Dallas (Texas) and China.
Another US airline, United Airlines, cancelled all flights to Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai from February 1 to February 8, while Canada’s Air Canada suspended all trips to Beijing and Shanghai from January 30 to February 29.
Among European companies that have suspended flights to China are: Iberia, British Airways, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, SWISS, and Finnair.
Asian carriers followed the example of their European colleagues. Air China suspended flights to the DPRK until March 1, while North Korea-based company Air Koryo plans to suspend flights from Pyongyang to China for a month after carrying out two flights to Beijing on February 1 and 4.
VietJet Air (Vietnam), Lion Air (Indonesia) are also among the companies that have announced suspension of flights with China. Singapore Airlines announced partial cancellation of flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Chongqing. Kazakhstan’s Air Astana will suspend flights to Beijing and Urumqi starting February 3, while flights from Almaty to Hong Kong will continue as usual three times a week. Japan’s All Nippon Airways may suspend all flights to China; however, no decision has been taken yet.
Russian carriers, including Aeroflot, S7, IrAero, Aurora, Yakutia Airlines, continue to fly to China so far. Russia will make a decision on flight service with China by Friday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova stated during Wednesday’s briefing. "As for the flight service, we have agreed that in the next two days, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of the Interior will analyze the number of our citizens returning to Russia, and then a decision on flights from China and to China will be made," she said.
Russia’s Ural Airlines have suspended direct flights to Hainan from Yekaterinburg and Tyumen, and starting February 8, it will cancel flights from Yekaterinburg to Xian and Ordos. Besides, Ural Airlines have suspended flights to several European cities (Munich, Paris and Rome) due to a large number of Chinese tourists booking these flights.
About the virus
On December 31, 2019, Chinese authorities informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of an unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan - a large trade and industrial center in central China populated by 11 million people. On January 7, Chinese experts identified the infecting agent: coronavirus 2019-nCoV. According to recent data, 9,720 people have been infected with the virus in China, with 213 dead.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency over the outbreak of a new type of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus informed that 98 cases of coronavirus had been detected in 18 states outside of China: Australia, Vietnam, India, Cambodia, Canada, Malaysia, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the USA, Thailand, the Philippines, Finland, France, Germany, Sri Lanka and Japan. Shortly after this announcement, Italian officials reported two cases of coronavirus detected on the Italian territory. Cases of human-to-human transmission of the virus have been documented in four states.