Published on Wednesday, January 29, 2020

BA suspends mainland China flights

British Airways has suspended all flights to and from mainland China, following Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel to the country as the coronavirus crisis deepens.

The last flights from Beijing and Shanghai are due to arrive in the UK at around 4pm today.

After that, there will be no direct BA flights from London to mainland China for the rest of January or the whole of February, according to BA's website.

Flights to Hong Kong will continue but passengers will have to use a different airline to head on to the Chinese mainland.

A spokeswoman said the airline is assessing the situation and said customers should continue to check its website for updates.

The move comes after the FCO advised against all but essential travel to mainland China in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The most recent figures reveal 132 people have died and 6,000 have the illness in mainland China.

On Wednesday, the FCO made an addition to its advice, saying: "Some airlines, including British Airways, have suspended flights to and from mainland China.

"Other commercial airlines are still operating, but it may become harder over the coming weeks for those who wish to leave China to do so. If you feel that you may want to leave China soon, you should consider making plans to do so before any further restrictions may be imposed."

UK tourism has already lost 20,000 bookings because of coronavirus, according to estimates.

Meanwhile, The US has significantly expanded airport screening of travellers from China, with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officers to start screening at another 15 airports.

Thermal health screenings are already ongoing at five airports: New York JFK, San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles, Chicago's O'Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

"We are constantly preparing for the possibility that the situation could worsen," health secretary Alex Azar said.

The expanded screening will see CDC officers at airports including Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Seattle, Minneapolis-St Paul, Anchorage Newark and Boston as well as offshore airports Honolulu and San Juan.

Together, these 20 airports receive about 90% of all passenger traffic from China.


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