Coronavirus: British Airways Suspends Flights, Governments Fly Citizens Home

  • The new coronavirus caused the deaths of 25 more people in China's Hubei province, increasing the death toll in the country to 131.
  • Late on Tuesday, German health authorities confirmed three more cases of the coronavirus.
  • Several countries have already started repatriating their citizens from Wuhan, a city that was quarantined last week.

British Airways announced on Wednesday it had suspended all direct flights to and from mainland China. The move came shortly after the United Kingdom advised against any non-essential travel to the Asian country following the outbreak of the deadly new coronavirus. “We apologize to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority,” a statement to that effect released by British Airways read in part.

The 2019 novel coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus causing the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. The first suspected cases were officially reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.

The new coronavirus caused the deaths of 25 more people in China’s Hubei province, increasing the death toll in the country to 131, local authorities said on Wednesday. The outbreak started in the city of Wuhan. There are 840 new cases diagnosed in the province. That increases the total number of infected people across the country to more than 5,300.

Late on Tuesday, German health authorities confirmed three more cases of the coronavirus (2019-nCoV), increasing the number of people infected in the country to four. The next three cases were connected to the first. Germany is the second country in Europe to be hit by the outbreak, after France.

What is Coronavirus?

The disease has been identified as a new type of coronavirus, similar to atypical pneumonia, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed 650 people in mainland China and Hong Kong between 2002 and 2003. Symptoms associated with the infection are more severe than the flu, and include fever, pain, malaise, and breathing difficulties, such as shortness of breath.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral respiratory disease of zoonotic origin caused by the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). No cases of SARS have been reported worldwide since 2004.

In addition to the Chinese mainland, France, and Germany, cases of the disease have also been reported in Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Singapore, Vietnam, Nepal, Malaysia, Australia, and Canada. Infected people can transmit the disease during the incubation period, which takes between one day and two weeks without the virus being detected.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that it will send international experts to China as soon as possible to work with Chinese experts in the study and containment of the deadly virus. Several countries have already started repatriating their citizens from Wuhan, a city that was quarantined last week, with exits and entrances banned by authorities for an indefinite period as a measure to combat the spread of the deadly virus.

A plane dispatched by the Japanese government already evacuated 216 Japanese nationals from China to Tokyo. Another plane carrying US diplomatic personnel and other US citizens also already left Wuhan, and was expected to land at Ontario International Airport in California on Wednesday.

In Canada, plans were at an advanced stage for the repatriation of the 126 Canadians living in the region. The European Union was also planning to send two planes between Wednesday and Friday, which are expected to repatriate 250 French and 100 other European citizens.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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