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30 Jan 2020 | 10:08 AM UTC

Israel/Palestinian Terr.: El Al suspends all flights to China due to novel coronavirus January 30

El Al suspends all flights to China due to novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak January 30; confirm flight reservations

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Event

El Al airlines has announced that it will suspend all flights to China from Thursday, January 30, through Wednesday, March 25, due to the ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Israel has no confirmed cases of the virus as of January 30, but three suspected cases are reportedly under investigation.

Several other airlines, notably including Air France, Air Canada, British Airways, and Lufthansa, have suspended all flights to China to prevent further spread of the virus.

Further spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan. 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.

As of January 30, cases of the virus have been confirmed in Australia, Canada, Cambodia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Macau, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, the US, and Vietnam. Human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in Germany, Vietnam, and Japan. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.

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.

Advice

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, 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 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.