Czech-China flights banned over coronavirus
The government today approved a ban on direct flights between China and Czech Republic over the spread of coronavirus, effective on February 9, Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) told journalists.
Health Minister Adam Vojtech (for ANO) told journalists before the government meeting that he would propose the measure for an indeterminate time and declined to estimate its duration.
Babis said at the weekend the government would adapt the start of the ban to the return of about 100 Czechs from China. If some of them want to stay in China, the government is ready to send a special government-owned Airbus there.
Prague has 12 air connections with China, operated by three Chinese airlines. Last year, 188,000 passengers used direct air connections between Prague and China in both directions.
Since 2015, Hainan Airlines has been flying to Beijing. One year later, Sichuan Airlines started flying to Chengdu. In 2017, the China Eastern Airlines launched a connection with Shanghai, with a stopover in Xian.
Chinese television has announced that the disease has claimed 362 lives. Except for one case (the Philippines), all the victims are from mainland China.
A number of other countries such as North Korea, Vietnam, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, Georgia and Italy have limited or cancelled flights to China over the coronavirus outbreak.