KAMPALA/ BEIJING – Amid recent coronavirus outbreak, China has reportedly thrown the travel industry off the track. The situation with every passing day is threatening billions of dollars while issuing an advisory for millions of travellers to avoid travelling to China and stay at home. As per the latest news reports, the virus has already claimed 636 lives and infected more than 28,000 people.
The outbreak initially reared its head in Wuhan earlier this year, after which many countries started to evacuate their citizens from China, and restrict the entry of foreigners returning from China.
Now, latest international media reports state that as many as 30 airlines have suspended services in China, and earlier this week, nearly 25000 flights were also cancelled.
Reportedly, numerous hotels in China are not getting bookings and rooms are largely empty, with many tourists cancelling their travel to Asia, while most of the tourists are opting for a wait-and-see approach. Asia, which attracts 75 per cent of Lunar New Year travellers, has witnessed a decline even though the Chinese New Year is one of China’s major travel periods.
Several countries including Uganda have banned all travel exchange by their citizens to virus-hit China and incorporated penalties for any violations.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on February 5 has urged for $675 million (613 million euros) in donations in a bid to battle the deadly coronavirus, mainly through investment in countries considered to be at risk.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news conference held in Geneva that they are unveiling a strategic preparedness and response plan and are requesting $675 million to fund the plan for the next three months. He added that the WHO’s message to the international community is invested today or pay later.
He further added that the appeal for the funds was much less than the bill we will have to pay if we do not invest in preparedness now. He reportedly said that $60 million of the funds would be for WHO operations and the rest of the amount would go to the countries requiring help to guard against the deadly coronavirus.
Authorities have also banned Chinese nationals from travelling into their territory, suspending airlines and halting the visa issuance as well as immigration facility. Also, health authorities around the globe are taking action to prevent a global epidemic, with cases reported in France, Australia, the United States and several Asian countries besides China.
While dealing with this deadly case, Disney reportedly stated that it might end up losing $175 million if its parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong remained closed for the next two months. Further, Thailand is of the view that it might have to suffer a loss of $9.7 billion in tourism income from Chinese travellers through June. Reports also state that destinations further from the outbreak are also feeling the pinch of Chinese tourists and that many countries have banned visitors from mainland China.