The World Health Organization (WHO) is encouraging travelers exhibiting symptoms suggestive of acute respiratory illness before, during or after travel, to seek medical attention and share travel history with their health care provider as soon as possible.
As China shuts its borders and major transport links to help limit transmission of novel coronavirus, major airlines are also cancelling or reducing flights to and from China. Business travelers should check with their travel consultant or booking channel for specific information on flight restrictions or cancellations.
Here is a round-up of recent developments, as of Feb. 5:
Airlines suspending flights to China or reducing capacity
- Air New Zealand: cutting its Shanghai service from daily to four times a week from Feb. 18 to Mar. 31.
- American Airlines: all services to and from mainland China are suspended through Mar. 27. Flights to Hong Kong are also suspended.
- Delta Air Lines: suspends all service to China from Feb. 6 through Apr. 30. The airline previously announced cutting service to 21 flights a week till Apr.30.
- China Eastern Airlines: the first Chinese carrier to suspend all service between China and the United States. The suspension is effected from Feb. 2 -10.
- Emirates / Etihad: The United Arab Emirates suspended flights to and from China, except for Beijing. The UAE suspension, which state media said was until further notice, effects Dubai’s Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways.
- Egypt Air: flights to China suspended indefinitely. The airline connects to Beijing, Guangzhou and Hangzhou.
- Hainan Airlines: flights between Budapest, Hungary, and Chongqing are suspended from Feb. 7 until Mar. 27.
- Iberia: temporarily suspending all flights to Shanghai, its only mainland Chinese destination.
- Kenya Air: flights to and from Guangzhou are suspended until further notice.
- LOT Polish Airlines: temporarily suspend its flights to Beijing until Feb. 9.
- Mandarin Airlines: suspended flights from Taiwan to Wuhan until the end of February.
- Malaysia Airlines: temporarily suspends Kota Kinabalu-Shanghai-Kota Kinabalu flights effective Feb. 18 until further notice.
- Oman Air: following the directives of the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA), all flights to and from Guangzhou are suspended from Feb. 3. In addition, forward bookings to Guangzhou are not accepted.
- Philippine Airlines: number of flights between Manila and China will be reduced by more than 50%.
- Qantas Airways: flights to China are suspended from Feb. 9 untill Mar. 29.
- Qatar Airways: flights to China are suspended as of Feb. 3 untill further notice due to “significant operational challenges”.
- Royal Air Maroc: direct flights to China suspended until Feb. 29.
- Russia: all Russian airlines, with the exception of national airline Aeroflot and small Russian airline Ikar, will stop flying to China.
- RwandAir: flights to and from China are halted until further notice.
- Singapore Airlines: would reduce capacity on some of its routes to mainland China in February. The cuts include flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Xiamen and Chongqing, some of which are flown by regional arm SilkAir.
- Scoot: all services to 18 cities in mainland China are suspended till Mar. 28. These cities include: Changsha, Fuzhou, Haikou, Hangzhou, Harbin, Jinan, Kunming, Nanchang, Nanjing, Nanning, Ningbo, Qingdao, Shenyang, Tianjjin, Wuhan, Wuxi, Xi’an and Zhengzhou. Ad-hoc cancellations of Singapore-Hong Kong and Singapore-Macau flights are also expected from Feb. 1 – Mar. 28.
- Shanghai Airlines: Chengdu-Budapest flights between Feb. 4 and Mar. 28 and i Xi’an-Budapest flights between Feb. 6 and Mar. 26 are suspended. Its’ Shanghai-Budapest flight is unaffected.
- Turkish Airlines: frequency on scheduled flights to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Xi’an between Feb. 5 and Feb. 29 will be reduced.
- Turkmenistan Airlines: suspended flights to and from Beijing from Feb. 1.
- United Airlines: suspending all flights to China untill Mar. 28. The airline had previously announced reducing service to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong only. Service to Hong Kong is also suspended.
- Vietjet: all flights to and from China are suspended from Feb. 1.
- Vietnam Airlines: will suspend flights to China from Feb. 6, and reduce flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Hong Kong to seven from 10 per week.
- Virgin Atlantic: daily operations to Shanghai will be suspended for two weeks from Feb. 2.
How are countries/regions around the world reacting to the spread of the virus?
With the virus now being spread to at least 26 countries/regions, many countries are stepping up on measures to prevent the outbreak from getting more widespread. Here’s what we know so far:
- Australia: anyone arriving from mainland China, except for Australian citizens, residents or their family members, and air crew will be denied entry. It has also warned against any travel to all of mainland China.
- Canada: citizens are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to China.
- France: the government strongly discourage any travel to China.
- Hong Kong: closed all border crossings except Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, Shenzhen Bay Port and Hong Kong International Airport. The city also bars residents of China’s Hubei province, where the outbreak is centered, from entering the city.
- Indonesia: travelers who have been to China in recent weeks are denied entry into Indonesia. This would also include travelers on transit. In addition, the government has suspended free visa and visa-on-arrival services for Chinese citizens living in the mainland and called on Indonesians to temporarily stop traveling there.
- India: Chinese passport holders and those who reside in China with electronic visas to India won’t be able to enter.
- Israel: Foreign nationals arriving from China will be refused entry.
- Japan: People with symptoms of the coronavirus will be denied entry into the country. The government urges its citizens to avoid travel to China.
- Laos: the country has sealed off Golden Triangle road borders with China and Myanmar and suspended flights to China.
- Macau: temporarily close all 41 casinos for two weeks, starting Feb. 4.
- Malaysia: imposed a temporary entry restriction into Sarawak to all citizens of China and other foreigners who have travelled to China in the last 14 days, with immediate effect. Meanwhile, those with Employment Passes, Student Passes, Long Special Passes will be allowed entry and subject to a compulsory self-quarantine at home for 14 days. Visa-on-arrival for Chinese nationals from Hubei province is also suspended.
- Maldives: announced a ban on travelers arriving from China, Feb. 3.
- Mongolia: closed its border with China until Mar. 2.
- Myanmar: visas-on-arrival for all visitors from China is suspended.
- New Zealand: foreigners traveling from mainland China will be denied entry. The ban, effective Feb. 3, covers anyone who is traveling from or has transited through China, and will last up to 14 days. It has also raised its travel advice about all of mainland China to “do not travel,” the highest level.
- North Korea: borders to visitors from China have been shut since Jan. 22.
- Pakistan: delayed opening its northern border with China, while Karachi Port Trust, operator of nation’s largest port, had asked immigration authorities not to allow crew on foreign vessels to disembark.
- Philippines: travel ban widened to include visitors from all of China, including Hong Kong and Macau, while prohibiting Filipinos from traveling to those areas.
- Russia: suspended visa-free tourist travels to China and temporarily blocked Chinese citizens from reaching Russia over the Mongolian border.
- Singapore: no entry and transit of travelers who had traveled to mainland China in the previous 14 days. Visas of China citizens to visit Singapore have been suspended, including those already issued.
- South Korea: from Feb. 4, South Korea will temporarily ban foreigners who have visited or stayed in Hubei within 14 days of entering. Seoul will also suspend its no-visa favor for Chinese tourists to Jeju Island for now. South Korea is also suspending tourism to China.
- Taiwan: from Feb. 7, foreigners who have visited or resided in mainland China over the past 14 days before they arrive in Taiwan will be barred from entering Taiwan. The ban includes those who are eligible for visa-free arrival, landing visas, and e-visas, as well as those carrying valid visas.
- United States: The U.S. is temporarily barring entry to foreign nationals who have visited China and pose a risk of spreading the illness, unless they are immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Flights from China would be funneled through just seven U.S. airports. The State Department issued its highest level do-not-travel advisory for China.
- Vietnam: the government ordered companies to stop accepting Chinese workers returning to the country after the Lunar New Year holidays. The suspension also applies to foreign workers traveling through Chinese regions affected by the outbreak. The Vietnamese aviation authority canceled all flight permits and suspended new flight licenses for airlines operating between the country and China.
- The European Union plans to tighten entry conditions on Chinese nationals and those who have travelled to China in recent weeks.
- Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka are restricting visa issuance to all Chinese nationals.
The information in this post is accurate as of Feb. 5 and is provided for general information purposes only; it should not be construed as legal advice. The suggested resources list is not exhaustive. BCD Travel does not provide advice or recommendations on the prudence of travel to an affected destination. However, we seek to provide pertinent information, allowing companies and travelers to make informed decisions regarding business travel.