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Pakistan suspends direct flights to China as novel coronavirus claims more lives

Pakistan suspends direct flights to China as novel coronavirus claims more lives
Pakistan is suspending all direct flights to Chinese cities days after four of its students tested positive for the new coronavirus. Similar measures have been taken in countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

“We are suspending flights to China until February 2,” the additional secretary of aviation, Abdul Sattar Khokhar, told Reuters on Friday, saying Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will review the situation after that date.

Local media shared an official CAA letter sent to local managers of Air China and China Southern Airlines – the two carriers serving direct flights between a number of Pakistani and Chinese cities.

While the agency didn’t mention any concerns over the coronavirus epidemic in China, the suspension does look like a preemptive measure. It was reported this week that four Pakistani students based in Wuhan – the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak which has claimed at least 213 lives – have been diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease.

In recent days and weeks, numerous airlines across three continents have cancelled flights to and from China, offering full refunds for passengers. Several countries have also tightened their borders, or escalated travel advisories for China.

Also on rt.com United Airlines, British Airways & other carriers suspend flights to China in bid to halt coronavirus spread

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