UAE-China flights suspended as coronavirus spreads

04 February 2020
Flights to and from Beijing exempted from suspension of flights between both countries, GCAA says

The UAE has suspended flights to and from China outside the capital as the new coronavirus spreads globally after being discovered in Wuhan city last December.

Flights to and from Beijing will not be affected as part of the precautionary measure to suspend Chinese routes, the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said in a statement carried by state news agency Wam.

The GCAA said all passengers travelling from Beijing International airport would be required to undergo six to eight hours of medical tests at the airport to ensure the safety of passengers before boarding.

The decision to suspend flights came after the GCAA studied and analysed the latest status of the coronavirus’s spread.

The authority said all flights to and from Wuhan – the centre of the virus and one of China's largest cities with a population of 11 million – have been cancelled since 23 January.

"We continue to put our confidence in the Chinese government’s efforts to control and contain the situation," the GCAA said.

To date, 427 deaths have been confirmed as a result of coronavirus, with 663 patients recovering from their illness.

More than 20,400 cases have been registered in mainland China, with coronavirus patients also found in Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia.

All the G7 countries – Canada, France, Italy, the UK, the US, Germany and Japan – also have confirmed cases of the virus.

The GCAA said it was working with the National Emergency Crisis & Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA), the Ministry of Health & Prevention, Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines to study the situation in China.

It added that NCEMA and other authorities were “continuously evaluating the situation in China and will make decisions accordingly".

The UAE has confirmed five cases of the coronavirus, with the latest patient being revealed on 1 February.

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