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Delta, American, United suspend flights to China over coronavirus

By
Don Jacobson & Danielle Haynes
The airlines are suspending flights to China to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI
The airlines are suspending flights to China to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Three of the United States' largest airlines suspended flights to mainland China on Friday over the deadly and growing coronavirus outbreak.

Amid U.S. government warnings against travel to China, American, Delta and United airlines announced the moves to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. American said it was canceling its flights to China immediately, and the ban will last until at least March 27. Delta canceled flights beginning next week through April 30, due to "ongoing concerns related to the coronavirus." United said it's suspending operations beginning Thursday and lasting until March 28.

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Delta's last China-bound flight will leave the United States on Monday, and the the last return flight on Feb. 5.

United said it will continue to operate its daily flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong.

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American and Delta are the two largest carriers in the United States, respectively, by passengers carried. United is the fourth.

Chinese authorities say 213 people have died of the virus so far amid nearly 9,800 confirmed cases.

The U.S. State Department issued a Level 4 warning against all travel to China on Thursday after the World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has similarly issued warnings to avoid all unnecessary travel to China.

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The Pentagon responded to the outbreak Friday by issuing its own guidelines that advise service members abroad to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

While acknowledging the immediate risk to the American public remains low, Undersecretary of Defense Matthew Donovan urged influenza vaccinations for military and civilian Defense Department personnel and that they take everyday preventative measures to prevent the spread of germs, such as frequent hand-washings.

The Pentagon guidelines also advise anyone returning from China within the last two weeks showing signs of fever, cough or difficult breathing should seek medical attention.

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