Airlines suspend flights to China as global fears mount over coronavirus outbreak
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Foreign airlines began suspending flights to and from China on Wednesday as global fears mounted over a coronavirus epidemic that has killed 132 people and infected nearly 6,000.

The announcements came hours after countries began airlifts to evacuate foreigners trapped in Wuhan, the quarantined central Chinese city of 11 million people at the epicentre of the health emergency.

A growing number of governments, including the United States, Britain and Germany, have in recent days advised their citizens to avoid non-essential travel to China over concerns about the viral outbreak.

China has itself urged its citizens to delay trips abroad, with at least 15 countries having confirmed cases of the disease. The United Arab Emirates reported the first known case in the Middle East on Wednesday.

British Airways was the first major airline to announce a total suspension of flights to and from China, citing the travel advice of the foreign office.

Indonesia's Lion Air Group, Southeast Asia's biggest carrier by fleet size, also said it would halt services to and from China from Saturday "until further notice".

In Myanmar, the three airlines which have routes into neighbouring China also said those flights would be suspended from Saturday.

Cathay Pacific also cut flights, citing low demand and the Hong Kong government's response plan against the virus.

And in one of the most dramatic measures, the tiny Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea announced on Wednesday that travellers from Asia would not be allowed in.

However many other airlines said they were continuing with their services. However, passengers on some of these flights will have to make do without hot meals, blankets and newspapers, as airlines step up measures to protect crew and travellers from the virus.

Domestic Indian airline IndiGo has decided to suspend its flights on the Bengaluru-Hong Kong route from February 1 and on the Delhi-Chengdu route from February 1 to 20. Similarly, Air India spokesperson said the national carrier is suspending its flights on Delhi-Shanghai route from January 31 to February 14.

However, IndiGo clarified that for now, it will continue to operate the Kolkata-Guangzhou flight which it is "monitoring on a daily basis".

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