Citing the Coronavirus, El Al Halts All Flights to China
CTech – Israel’s national career El Al will halt all its flights to and from China because of the Wuhan coronavirus, the company announced Thursday. The company intends to reopen its route to Beijing on March 25.
According to data released by the WHO Wednesday, there are 6,065 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, 68 of which are outside of China, spanning 15 different countries including Canada, the US, United Arab Emirates, France and Germany.
El Al is not the first airline to stop flights to China because of the coronavirus. German flagship airline Lufthansa announced Wednesday it would suspend all of its flights to Mainland China until February 9, including flights operated by its subsidiaries Swiss Airlines and Austrian Airlines.
Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines will be flying to their respective destinations in China for one last time today. This is intended to give our guests the opportunity to take their planned flight and our crews to return to Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
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— Austrian Airlines (@_austrian) January 29, 2020
British Airways has also suspended its flights to China, while other airlines, including Air Canada and Delta Airlines, have announced they will be suspending flights to certain cities in the Asian nation.
The coronavirus came to public awareness on December 31, 2019, when China informed the World Health Organization (WHO) it has detected several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, a port city in the Hubei province with a population of some 11 million. On January 7, WHO experts identified it as a member of the coronavirus family, a group of respiratory infections. China has responded by quarantining the major cities in Hubei, putting some 56 million people under lockdown, though some experts have doubted the effectiveness of this measure. Other countries have implemented security measures such as screening for symptoms at airports and restricting air travel to China.