Scoot cancels flights to China's Wuhan over virus outbreak

Scoot cancels flights to China's Wuhan over virus outbreak

Scoot air planes are seen on the tarmac at Singapore's Changi Airport
Scoot airplanes on the tarmac at Changi Airport. (File photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines' budget carrier Scoot on Thursday (Jan 23) cancelled its daily flight to China's Wuhan, after authorities locked down the city at the centre of a fast-spreading virus outbreak.

Singapore-Wuhan flights between Jan 23 and Jan 26 will be cancelled, said Scoot in an online notice.

Customers already booked on those flights will receive emails with further information about refunds, it added.

READ: China halts flights and trains out of Wuhan as WHO extends talks

"Due to the outbreak of a new coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China, the Chinese authorities have implemented a temporary suspension of all public transportation networks in the city," said Scoot.

"Consequently, Scoot’s flights between Scoot and Wuhan will be affected," it added.

Singapore-Wuhan flights scheduled on and after Jan 27 will operate as scheduled, except for TR121, said Scoot, adding that customers who placed their bookings for those flights prior to Jan 23 may contact the airline if they wish to change their travel plans.

"Scoot will continue to closely monitor the situation in Wuhan as the health and safety of our passengers and employees are our highest priority."

The list of affected flights can be found here.

READ: Wuhan virus: SIA, Scoot step up precautionary measures for all China flights

China is putting a lockdown on Wuhan, a city of 11 million considered the epicentre of an outbreak that has killed 17 and infected nearly 600.

Wuhan's local government shut down urban transport networks and suspended flights from 10am on Thursday, and residents were told not to leave the city "without a special reason".

MORE: Our coverage of the Wuhan virus and its developments

A long line of cars headed out of the city on Thursday, with officials checking the temperatures of some drivers, according to images from Chinese media outlet The Paper.

Police wearing masks patrolled Wuhan's Hankou train station before the suspension came into effect.

While departures were banned, trains and planes were still heading into the city.

As of Thursday, China said the number of people infected by the coronavirus has hit 571.

SINGAPORE'S HEALTH MINISTRY UPDATES TRAVEL ADVISORY

Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) advised Singaporeans in an update on Thursday to avoid travelling to Wuhan. It previously advised travellers to avoid non-essential travel to the city.

MOH said: "This is in view of the developing novel coronavirus situation in Wuhan and other parts of China, as well as the temporary closure from today of airports and train stations in Wuhan, and limited travel out of Wuhan."

The public should continue to exercise caution and attention to personal hygiene when travelling to the rest of China, it said.

MORE TRANSPORT OPERATORS SUSPEND SERVICES TO WUHAN

Other transport operators in the region have also suspended some services to Wuhan.

Taiwan's China Airlines on Thursday said it will suspend flights to Wuhan from Jan 23 to Feb 29.

READ: Wuhan virus: Number of confirmed cases in China exceeds 570

China Airlines' flights from Taipei leave from the city's main Taoyuan international airport.

Its sister carrier Mandarin Airlines is also cancelling flights from Taipei's smaller Songshan airport to Wuhan.

The airline said it will assist passengers who want to return to Wuhan to opt for other nearby destinations.

Malaysia's AirAsia announced on Thursday that it will cancel all flights to Wuhan until Jan 28.

READ: Commentary: Snakes possible source of Wuhan virus but more research needed

Hong Kong rail operator MTR said it will suspend sales of high speed rail tickets to Wuhan.

The rail operator said in a statement that the decision had been made after communicating with its railway partners in China.

Regular train services between Hong Kong and Wuhan will operate as per normal, it said. Those passengers with valid tickets may opt for a full refund, it added.

Two train services now run between Hong Kong and Wuhan daily.

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Source: Agencies/CNA/aa

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