BEIJING – Three East African airlines have suspended flights to China in response to the growing threat of Coronavirus that has spread to all regions in China and about 20 other countries.
The first was Air Tanzania, which announced Wednesday that it has postponed its maiden Air Tanzania flight to China, which was scheduled for February.
Kenya Airways then followed suit, saying it had taken the decision after consultations with the government, through the Ministry of Health and Foreign Affairs.
“Further to our prior communication, we have temporarily suspended flights to and from Guangzhou effective January 31 until further notice. We, however, clarify that our service to Bangkok, Thailand remains operational,” the airline said in a statement.
RwandAir on Friday also halted flights to and from China until further notice amid the haemorrhagic fever outbreak that has so far killed 213 in China.
“RwandAir is to suspend flights with immediate effect between the Rwandan capital, Kigali, and the Chinese city of Guangzhou. The decision will be reviewed later in February,” the airline said in a statement.
“The Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority is in the process of notifying other airlines entering Rwanda that any passengers on board their aircraft, who have travelled from China, will upon arrival be screened for potential exposure to novel coronavirus, and may be quarantined for two weeks for observation and case management,” it added.
However, Ethiopian Airlines said that it would continue flying to China, serving its five destinations of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Hong Kong with the usual demand and supply adjustment.
On Thursday, coronavirus was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization, as the outbreak continues to spread outside China.
“The main reason for this declaration is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.