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22 Mar 2020 | 10:33 PM UTC

Singapore: Singapore Airlines cuts flight capacity by 96 percent due to COVID-19 March 23 /update 3

Singapore Airlines cuts flight capacity but 96 percent amid tighter border restrictions due to COVID-19 on March 23; confirm travel itineraries



Singapore Airlines announced on Monday, March 23, that flight capacity will be reduced by 96 percent until the end of April due to tightening border restrictions globally as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The move will affect 138 out of 147 Singapore Airlines and SilkAir planes, as well as 47 out of 49 planes at low-cost carrier Scoot. According to the airline, it is unclear when normal services will resume given the uncertainty as to when border controls will be lifted.

As of Sunday, March 22, Singapore's Ministry of Health has confirmed 455 cases of COVID-19 nationwide, including 144 recoveries and 2 fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is likely over the coming weeks. 


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 March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble 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.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

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

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.