Representatives of British Airways (BA) announced on Thursday, February 26, that the airline will reduce flight operations to and from Italy, Singapore, and South Korea due to reduced demand amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. They confirmed the cancelation of 56 roundtrip flights from London airports to several airports in northern Italy, including Milan, Bologna, Venice, and Turin between March 14 and March 28. BA officials said flights to and from Seoul will now occur every other day instead of daily, while six roundtrip flights to Singapore will be canceled between March 15 and March 28 - although a daily flight will be maintained. The airline's representatives said that they will directly contact affected individuals.
Further flight disruptions, including cancelations and schedule changes, are possible as COVID-19 continues to spread around the world.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "'very high' at global level."
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, contact the airline for more information, confirm travel itineraries prior to travel, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
- To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
- If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
- Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments
In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.
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