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In an attempt to quell the spread of the new deadly coronavirus, Chinese authorities have put the city of Wuhan on lockdown. Now, international airlines are one by one temporarily canceling all flights to and from the Chinese city.
Malaysian-based low-cost carriers Air Asia and Malindo Air are the first airlines to block their regular flights to and from Wuhan.
RELATED: THE WUHAN CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK IN CHINA: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
Airports are screening passengers from Wuhan
Up until today, airports around the world have been screening and checking passengers traveling to and from the coronavirus-infected city of Wuhan. Appropriate quarantine questions have also arisen since the outbreak.
[Travel Advisory]: AirAsia Temporarily Cancels All Flights to and from #Wuhan; allows change of travel dates for other cities. (Updated as of 24 January 2020 at 1300hrs GMT+8)https://t.co/gK4fZNgar6— AirAsia (@AirAsia) January 24, 2020
China has stopped all citizens of Wuhan from leaving the city. Reports that the city's public transport has stopped operating have been shared, and the airport authorities are not allowing any passengers to leave the city.
Now, some international airlines have taken the matter into their own hands and have canceled flights to and from the city.
BREAKING NEWS: This is not a scene from some apocalyptic horror movie, this is a #coronavirus outbreak in China. The SARS like virus has already spread to four countries and infected more than 1700 people. US airports are monitored. Be on alert, stay safe! pic.twitter.com/PIc7NYvsGO— Max Howroute▫️ (@howroute) January 20, 2020
In a travel advisory, Air Asia has blocked all of its flights between Wuhan and Kota Kinabalu, Bangkok, and Phuket until January 28th.
The airline stated "AirAsia gives its assurance that the safety and well-being of our guests and Allstars is our top priority. AirAsia is complying with advice and regulations from global and local health authorities, including the World Health Organisation."
It continued, "AirAsia’s guests who are in Wuhan are advised to abide by announcements made by the government and health authorities, and to contact their respective diplomatic missions or embassies in China for assistance."
The airline has extended rerouting options to its passengers who wish to change their flights to and from Wuhan.
Officials in Wuhan, China, shut down the airport, trains, buses and subways to stop a coronavirus that's killed 17 people and sickened more than 500https://t.co/B921YAYPSNpic.twitter.com/CUvDucuIPR— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) January 22, 2020
Another Malaysian airline, Malindo Air, has joined Air Asia in stopping its routes to and from the Chinese city. The airline operates flights between Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Wuhan two to three times a week.
The airline stated that "Passengers who hold a valid booking for travel between Jan 23 and Feb 8 may contact our call center at +60378415388 or walk-in to our ticketing office for further assistance."
It continued "We are also monitoring the current situation in Wuhan very closely and will provide the latest developments to our passengers on our website accordingly."
It's most likely just a matter of time until other airlines follow suit, but for now, it looks like all parties are closely monitoring the outbreak situation to minimize its spread.
Arriving in Tokyo's Haneda airport last week, the Japanese border security officials were using temperature radars to surveil arriving passengers and taking those who were showing high temperatures aside. The coronavirus was a lead story in Japanese media. https://t.co/AKTGSuCbJg— Gray Connolly (@GrayConnolly) January 20, 2020