Germany’s Lufthansa cancels all flights to and from China over coronavirus

Germany's Lufthansa cancels all flights to and from China over coronavirus
Photo: DPA
Germany's flagship carrier Lufthansa said Wednesday it was cancelling all flights to mainland China until February 9th, as fears mount over the deadly coronavirus.

The Lufthansa group, one of Europe's largest airline companies, said the decision also applied to flights run by its subsidiaries Swiss and Austrian Airlines.

Each of the carriers will fly to their respective destinations in China “one last time” to give passengers and crew “the opportunity to return to Germany, Switzerland and Austria”, the group said in a statement.

The announcement comes after a string of countries — including the United States, Britain and Germany — advised citizens to avoid non-essential travel to China because of the virus, which has now killed more than 130 people and infected around 6,000.

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British Airways earlier became the first major airline to announce a total suspension of flights to and from mainland China.

Indonesia's Lion Air Group has since followed suit, as have airlines from Myanmar and Nepal.

The Lufthansa group normally operates 73 connections to and from mainland China a week, mainly to Beijing and Shanghai.

Its decision to suspend operations comes after a scare aboard a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to China's Nanjing on Wednesday.

A Chinese passenger who had recently been to Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicentre of the outbreak, was coughing during the flight and received medical care upon arrival.

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Out of precaution, Chinese authorities ordered that all passengers sitting in the three rows behind and front of the man be given medical attention.

The crew aboard the plane flew back to Germany on the very next flight, Lufthansa said, adding that German health authorities had been kept informed.

Germany has so far reported four confirmed cases of the virus, all of them employees at a Bavarian car parts company recently visited by a Chinese colleague for a training session.


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