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29 Jan 2020 | 02:00 AM UTC

UK: British Airways suspends flights to China January 29

British Airways suspends all direct flights to China on January 29 due to ongoing coronavirus outbreak; confirm flight reservations

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Event

British Airways announced on Wednesday, January 29, that all direct flights to mainland China have been suspended due to the ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The decision was made after the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all but essential travel to mainland China on Tuesday, January 28. According to a statement from British Airways, customers planning to travel to or from China can find additional information on the company website here.

Additional UK-based airlines may also suspend service to China as a precaution in the coming days.

Context

The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported in Wuhan (China) on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market. Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus. At least 132 people have died in China, and an estimated 6057 cases have been confirmed worldwide.

As of January 29, cases of the virus have been confirmed in 19 countries and territories outside of China and human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in Germany and in Japan. Virus screening measures are being implemented at airports worldwide.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, contact their airline for additional information, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.

Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

• Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold

• Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)

• Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask

• Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly

• Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments

• Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease