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Coronavirus effects SWISS suspends all flights to China until end of March 

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A Swiss International Air Lines Airbus A330 lands at Zurich Airport

(Keystone / Christian Beutler)

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has now suspended all flights to and from China until March 28 due to the coronavirus, COVID-19. It will use smaller planes to fly to and from Hong Kong. 

The company, which is part of Lufthansa, said on Fridayexternal link it had extended the suspension on flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai by a month to March 28, the end of the winter timetable. The two cities are now brought into line with the other destinations, Nanjing, Shenyang and Quingdao, which are not being served until March 28, as per an earlier announcement.

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The move applies to the parent company Lufthansa, as well as subsidiaries SWISS and Austrian Airlines. 

Situation, effects

Meanwhile, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) saidexternal link on Thursday that some 70 airlines had cancelled all international flights to and from mainland China, and that a further 50 airlines had curtailed related air operations.

The economic effects to airlines worldwide was estimated at $4-5 billion (CHF3.9-4.9 billion). “The agency also noted that COVID-19 impacts are expected to be greater than those caused by the 2003 SARS epidemic, in light of the higher volume and greater global extent of the flight cancellations being seen,” a statement said.

Overall, the latest figures show a total of 1,380 deaths due to the flu-like virus that emerged in the city of Wuhan in December. The total infections jumped by 5,090 to 63,851 cases on February 13, the Chinese National Health Commission said on Friday. Outside China, there have been two deaths and 447 cases in 24 countries, the World Health Organization has said.

SWISS/Keystone-SDA/Reuters/ilj

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