Airports Expand Screening, Airlines Cancel Flights as Coronavirus Cases Increase 60%

By Jesse Sokolow on 28 January 2020
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United pilots preparing for a flight to China before the temporary suspension of flights to the country

Airlines across the globe are cancelling hundreds of flights to China in the wake of the Wuhan virus.  The news comes as the number of cases worldwide rose by 60% overnight.

In the United States, United Airlines said it would temporarily suspend flights from February 1 through February 8 between its U.S. hubs and Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.  The move impacts 24 flights in total and the airline said it would continue to monitor the situation.

Officials in the United States said Tuesday they are expanding the screening of passengers arriving from Wuhan to 20 airport and land crossings, up from five.

“Right now, there is no spread of this virus in our communities at home,” said Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at a news briefing.

“The coming days and weeks are likely to bring more cases including the possibility of person-to-person spread,” he added. “Our goal is to contain this virus and prevent sustained spread of the virus in our country.”

Finnair became the first European airport to cancel flights to China.  It will suspend flights to Ninjing and Beijing’s Daxing airport through the end of March, it said.

Hong Kong’s government said it is suspending all cross-border train and ferry services and closing some land borders, while Hong Kong Airlines is cutting flights through mid-February and Cathay Pacific through late March

The three U.S. airlines that operate flights to China, American, Delta, and United, all said they would offer change fee waivers for such flights through the end of February. Neither American Airlines nor Delta Air Lines has suspended any flights to China, however.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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