Australia

Qantas to stop flying to mainland China amid coronavirus travel restrictions

Qantas has suspended its direct flights to China. Source: AP

Qantas will suspend its direct services to Beijing and Shanghai as a result of international travel restrictions introduced because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Qantas will suspend its two direct services to mainland China due to travel restrictions imposed by other countries in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The airline said entry restrictions imposed by the United States, Singapore and other countries will impact the movement of crew who work across the Qantas International network.

It will suspend its Sydney-Beijing and Sydney-Shanghai services from 9 February until 29 March.

The Beijing service was already due to end, due to commercial reasons, on 23 February.

All commercial flights from China will also be restricted to seven US airports, as part of sweeping US travel bans.
All commercial flights from China will also be restricted to seven US airports, as part of sweeping US travel bans.
Getty Images

Hong Kong services will remain unchanged as it is currently exempt from travel restrictions.

"The suspension may be brought forward if demand levels or other factors change," the airline announced in a statement on Saturday afternoon.

"The date for flights to resume will also be regularly reviewed based on the circumstances."

Turkish citizens arrive at Wuhan airport as a Turkish cargo plane prepares to evacuate groups from the Chinese city of Wuhan earlier this week.
Turkish citizens arrive at Wuhan airport as a Turkish cargo plane prepares to evacuate groups from the Chinese city of Wuhan earlier this week.
Anadolu

Customers booked to fly from 9 February to 29 March will be contacted by Qantas to discuss options. Codeshare flights with Chinese airlines will not be changed.

It comes after the Trump administration announced the US was suspending the entry of foreign nationals who had travelled to China in the last 14 days.

Earlier,  Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called on the federal government to halt flights from China in line with the US ban.

"I don't often agree with Donald Trump, but I do agree with the US authorities on this occasion that I think we should take every measure possible to combat this virus," she told reporters in Brisbane on Saturday.

Ms Palaszczuk said she backed "recommendations in relation to no more incoming flights until the virus is contained", but also accused the federal government of withholding information her government needed to contact travellers who had arrived in Queensland from China.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called for a China travel ban.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called for a China travel ban.
AAP

The Transport Workers Union has welcomed the move and called for all incoming flights from China to be suspended.

"This issue is getting more serious by the hour and it requires a calm but definite response," national secretary Michael Kaine said in a statement.

Chinese state media reports 259 people have now died from coronavirus and 11,791 cases have been recorded, while a fourth case has been confirmed in Victoria.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Scott Morrison said national security officials would hear from Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy in Sydney on Saturday.

Mr Morrison is due to hold a press conference at 4pm, although it's unknown if he will be discussing the travel bans.

A Qantas passenger plane is poised to evacuate Australians stranded at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak as soon as Chinese officials approve the plan.

With AAP...

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