Lufthansa cancels all flights to China over coronavirus fears

Jill Petzinger
Jill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Lufthansa flies direct to China from its hub in Frankfurt. Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa via Getty Images)

German flag carrier Lufthansa said it will suspend all flights between Germany and China from today until 9th February. Lufthansa-owned Swiss and Austrian Airlines will also cancel flights to and from China.

The three airlines will fly once more to their Chinese destinations to allow passengers to take booked flights and bring crew in China back, according to a Lufthansa statement. It will continue to fly to Hong Kong.

Several major airlines, including British Airways, have suspended or reduced flights to and from China as the number of cases of coronavirus, and deaths from the illness, continue to grow. US-based United Airlines said it was also cancelling flights due to a sharp drop in bookings. 

READ MORE: British Airways suspends China flights over coronavirus outbreak

The German government said on Wednesday that it is planning to evacuate around 100 German citizens out of Wuhan in Hubei province, where the coronavirus originated in the coming days. A Federal Health Ministry spokesperson told Bild that “all affected people will be accommodated in an isolation station for 14 days after landing [in Germany] without any symptoms of illness."

Lufthansa said today that there was a suspected coronavirus case on board one of its planes from Frankfurt to Nanjing on Wednesday. Passengers sitting near the man believed to be infected, as well as cabin crew were examined upon landing.

Germany has so far confirmed four cases of people with coronavirus, all of whom are stabile, according to Bavarian health minister Melanie Huml.

READ MORE: Germany confirms three more coronavirus cases

The first coronavirus case, reported on Monday, is a 33-year-old German man who works at automotive-supplier Webasto. He contracted the virus from a Chinese co-worker, who had come over from Shanghai to the Bavaria-based Webasto company office for a seminar. She first reported feeling ill on the plane back to China, and was confirmed as having corona shortly after she arrived back.

The German patient was Europe’s first confirmed case of human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus outside of Asia.

The virus has killed more than 130 people in China so far, and infected around 6,000. It has spread to 13 other countries, including the US, Australia, Singapore, and Taiwan.

READ MORE: How coronavirus outbreak is hitting companies around the world