Amidst the global panic ensuing due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, Australian global airline Qantas announced on Saturday plans to suspend all inbound and outbound flights to specific provinces in China.
Via the Qantas newsroom, the airline shared a statement outlining that from February 9th, flight routes from Sydney – Beijing and Sydney – Shanghai would be suspended until the end of March after the tenth confirmed case of the virus was announced in Australia that same day. It was also assured however that at this point in time, cancellation of these services would have no impact on flights between Australia and Hong Kong, as the city is exempt from current travel ban restrictions.
While the ban at time of writing is said to be lifted on March 29th, it was confirmed that this date will be subject to change should conditions worsen, with customers being urged to continually check in for updates regarding the situation.
This news comes off of the heels of the World Health Organisation declaring the Coronavirus a global health emergency on Friday, marking only the sixth time a pandemic has ever been announced.
Since the outbreak of the virus back in the Wuhang province in China back in December, countries such as the United States and Singapore have imposed travel bans in an attempt to limit the spread of the contagion, which thus impacted the movement of Qantas crew and led to the airline’s choice to impose it’s own flight restrictions.
“This follows entry restrictions imposed by countries including Singapore and the United States, which impact the movement of crew who work across the Qantas International network. These entry restrictions pose significant logistical challenges for rostering crew to operate mainland China services, leading to the need to temporarily suspend these flights.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also announced on Friday a temporary ban of non-Australian nationals entering the country who are not citizens, residents, spouses dependents or legal guardians in an attempt to curb the outbreak in Australia.
More on this story as it develops.
Featured Image Source: qantas.com