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Wed 29 Jan 2020 01:43 PM

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Emirates says continuing China flights as virus spreads

British Airways and Indonesia's Lion Air among airlines which have cancelled flights to and from China

Emirates says continuing China flights as virus spreads

Emirates airline is continuing business as usual with flights scheduled to China.

Indonesia's Lion Air Group, Southeast Asia's biggest carrier by fleet size, is halting all its flights to and from China owing to the deadly coronavirus, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

"All flights to China will be suspended temporarily starting from February 1st until further notice," Danang Mandala Prihantoro told AFP.

Dozens of flights would be affected on routes to 15 Chinese cities, he added.

Indonesia attracts more than one million Chinese tourists annually and hosts tens of thousands of guest workers.

Also Wednesday, British Airways said it was halting flights to and from China, while Russia's Urals Airlines said it had suspended some services to Europe popular with Chinese tourists, including Paris and Rome, because of the outbreak.

In Myanmar, the three airlines that have routes into neighbouring China also said those flights would also be suspended from Saturday.

Cathay Pacific also cut flights, citing low demand and the Hong Kong government's response plan against the virus.

And in one of the most dramatic measures, the tiny Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea announced Wednesday that travellers from Asia would not be allowed in.

A previous statement from Emirates, issued earlier this week, said: “We are in close contact with all relevant UAE and Chinese regulatory authorities, and are complying with their directives and guidance.

“We are also closely monitoring and implementing the guidance of the World Health Organisation, which currently does not advise any restrictions on travel."

The virus has killed more than 130 people, infected thousands and reached some 15 countries, including the UAE, where a case was discovered on Wednesday morning.

Arabian Business has reached out to Etihad Airways for comment on the carrier’s plans for China flights.

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