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04 Mar 2020 | 12:00 AM UTC

Sweden: Scandanavian Airlines (SAS) suspends all flights to Northern Italy March 3

Scandanavian Airlines (SAS) suspends all flights to Northern Italy from March 4-16 due to coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak; confirm flight reservations

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SWE

Event

On Tuesday, March 3, Scandavian Airlines (SAS) announced that it will suspend all flights to Milan, Bologna, Turin, and Venice from Wednesday, March 4, to Monday, March 16, due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. SAS had previously suspended flights to China since Friday, February 14.

Several airlines including Turkish Airlines, Delta, and American Airlines have also suspended flights to Italy to prevent further spread of the virus. European airlines such as Lufthansa have also cut flights to Italy amidst lower demand.

As of Wednesday, March 4, there have been 30 confirmed cases of the virus in Sweden. Further international spread of the COVID-19 virus is to be expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). 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.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

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 confirm flight reservations and to contact their airline for additional information.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider.

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, individuals are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.