Amid the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak, the Austrian Airlines have suspended all regular flights from March 18 due to a decline in the demand for air travel. In a series of tweet, the Austrian Airlines informed that the passengers who booked a flight before March 16 with a scheduled departure after March 18 will either be rebooked or else their fares will be refunded. Austrian Airlines CEO also said that the airlines will be cooperating with the government and try to bring home as many Austrian as possible.
Austrian Airlines decided to temporarily terminate all regular flight operations starting Wednesday night, March 18, 2020. This move is in response to entry bans being imposed across the globe and a rapid decline in demand for air travel. pic.twitter.com/OoSMxlyvIs— Austrian Airlines (@_austrian) March 16, 2020
If necessary, for example in cases of a need for evacuation and other relief or emergency flights, we will keep one long-haul aircraft and one medium-haul jet ready for operation. The relief flights will be carried out in close cooperation with the Austrian Federal Government.— Austrian Airlines (@_austrian) March 16, 2020
Currently, Austria has 1,018 confirmed cases and the dealdy virus has also claimed 2 lives in the country. In a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus, Austria also banned gatherings of more than five people. The authorities reportedly even told the residents to go out only if necessary.
As per reports, Austria is also denying entry to travellers from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Russia and Ukraine, expanding measures in place for Italy and Switzerland. Furthermore, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, in a tweet, called on all Austrians to isolate themselves and said that the restrictions are necessary to defend the health of the Austrian people and starve out coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the coronavirus as a global pandemic after the virus spread to nearly 160 countries, resulting in the deaths of more than 6,600 people worldwide. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom further even urged all nations to get very serious over the issue and take all necessary measures to contain the virus from spreading at this rate. Tedros said, that the word 'Pandemic' cannot be used lightly or carelessly due to its strong connotation.