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HEALTH

Germany’s Lufthansa extends China flight ban as coronavirus toll climbs

Germany's flagship carrier Lufthansa on Monday said it was suspending all flights to and from mainland China for longer than initially announced, as the death toll from the novel coronavirus climbed past 360.

Germany's Lufthansa extends China flight ban as coronavirus toll climbs
Photo: DPA

The Lufthansa group last week said it was halting its China flights until February 9th, including those run by subsidiaries Swiss and Austrian Airlines.

In an updated statement, the group said it was now halting flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai until February 29th.

The destinations of Nanjing, Shenyang and Qingdao in eastern China will not be served until March 28th, it added.

“The safety of passengers and employees is a top priority,” Lufthansa said, adding that the decision to prolong the suspension was made “after thoroughly evaluating all currently available information on the coronavirus”.

Flights to Hong Kong will take place as planned.

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Lufthansa and its two subsidiaries offer 54 weekly connections from Germany, Switzerland and Austria to mainland China, as well as 19 to Hong Kong.

The novel coronavirus first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

It has so far infected more than 17,000 people and killed over 360, making it more deadly than the SARS crisis nearly two decades ago.

The virus has since spread to more than 24 countries despite many governments imposing unprecedented travel bans on people coming from China.

Around 10 cases have been detected in Germany so far. All patients are being treated in isolation wards.

Dozens of global airlines have halted flight services with China to contain the outbreak, including British Airways and Air Canada.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: Demand for face masks in Germany jumps – but do they actually work?

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COVID-19

German Chancellor Scholz tests positive for Covid after Gulf tour

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has tested positive for the coronavirus and is displaying mild symptoms after returning from a tour of the Gulf, his spokesman said Monday.

German Chancellor Scholz tests positive for Covid after Gulf tour

The 64-year-old Social Democrat is isolating in his apartment in the chancellery, and will attend meetings online, spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said.

At the weekend, he visited Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar on a hunt for new energy sources after Russia cut gas supplies amid tensions over the Ukraine war.

He signed a deal Sunday for the UAE to supply natural gas and diesel to Germany.

READ ALSO: UAE to supply Germany with gas and diesel 

Meanwhile Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, also of the SPD, announced via Twitter on Monday that she had tested positive for Covid.

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