Coronavirus terror has rocked the world; with the virus so far claiming the lives of more than 420 people in China. So what’s the latest regarding travel?
On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and Smarttraveller is currently advising Australians ‘DO NOT TRAVEL’ to China.
Many ground operators have cancelled tours in China, flights have been suspended to the mainland and attractions have been closed.
Coronavirus is a flu-like virus with common symptoms including a fever, cough and difficulty breathing and severe cases causing pneumonia, kidney failure, and death.
At the time of writing, there are now 490 reported deaths from the virus with 23,680 confirmed cases in China.
Royal Caribbean has cancelled eight cruises out of China through early March and is taking more precautionary steps because of the outbreak. The number of cancellations at the cruise line is up from just three last week.
Royal Caribbean also said it would deny boarding to people who had visited mainland China or Hong Kong over the past 15 days. It will also screen Chinese and Hong Kong passport holders and people showing flu-like symptoms, including its own staff.
Princess Cruises is working with Japanese health officials after confirming the quarantine of one of its ships carrying more than 3,500 people after news its passengers tested positive for coronavirus.
A guest disembarked the Diamond Princess on 25 January while the ship docked in Hong Kong to visit a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with coronavirus. Local health officials are now testing the 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew members on board for symptoms.
10 passengers have so far tested positive for the virus, others are awaiting results.
Qantas will suspend its two direct services to mainland China (Sydney-Beijing and Sydney-Shanghai) from 9 February until 29 March 2020.
This follows entry restrictions imposed by countries including Singapore and the United States, which impact the movement of the crew who work across the Qantas International network.
There will be no change to Qantas services between Australia and Hong Kong.
United, American, British Airways and Air New Zealand have also suspended routes in and out of China and are closely monitoring the situation.
Smartraveller also advises that if you or someone you know is in China and needs assistance to phone +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas or 1300 555 135 from within Australia.
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