International

Airlines Follow British Airways‘ Lead In Halting China Flights

Airlines in the U.S. are following the lead of British Airways in canceling all flights to and from mainland China due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to reports on Wednesday (Jan. 29).

The U.S. was first to advise travelers to avoid nonessential travel to China. The U.K. soon followed, along with New Zealand.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing is collaborating with officials in China to figure out options for U.S. citizens still in Wuhan — where the coronavirus originated — to leave the country. Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, is on lockdown.

Japan, South Korea and Australia are also looking into the best way to evacuate citizens stuck in Wuhan.

The virus has so far killed 132 people in China; confirmed cases hit roughly 6,000, the country’s National Health Commission said. The virus is spreading worldwide and shaking up financial markets.

Facebook was the first company to suspend travel to China, advising any employees there to work from home. HSBC Holdings, the biggest bank in Europe, halted staff travel to both Hong Kong and to mainland China, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.

Goldman Sachs, LG Electronics, Honda Motor and others are also instituting travel bans. Nissan said it was using a government-chartered flight to evacuate its Japanese staff in Wuhan.

There are a lot of unknowns surrounding the virus, including how long it takes for symptoms to show in an infected person.

White House officials told major airlines on Tuesday (Jan. 28) “that a temporary ban on China flights is on the table,” sources told CNBC.

The Department of Health and Human Services said the CDC  has expanded screenings for the coronavirus to 20 airports.

In this global economic age — where money, people and public health risks move across borders — food, retail, travel and other industries are taking a financial hit. The coronavirus outbreak parallels the SARS outbreak in 2002 but could end up being financially worse.

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