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24 Feb 2020 | 09:59 PM UTC

Pakistan: Pakistan International Airlines suspends flights to Beijing until March 15 /update 2

Pakistan International Airlines spokesman says flights to Beijing are canceled until March 15 due to coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak; confirm travel itineraries



A spokesman for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) reportedly announced on Monday, February 24, that the airline has suspended flights to Beijing until Sunday, March 15, due to the ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The national flag carrier has twice weekly flights to Tokyo via Beijing. Further flight disruptions to and from countries with a significant number of COVID-19 cases are possible in the near term.

Officials have reportedly quarantined approximately 200 people for 15 days near the Iranian border due to COVID-19 concerns, after temporarily closing its Taftan border crossing (Balochistan province) on Sunday, February 23. As of Tuesday, February 25, health officials have not announced any cases of COVID-19 in Pakistan. However, further international spread of the virus is expected in the coming days and 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 more than 30 countries and territories worldwide. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the COVID-19 outbreak is a "very grave threat."

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.


Potentially affected travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home government.

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

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