Vietnam Airlines has recently announced that it will be suspending operations to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan from February 8. This extreme measure has been taken amid growing fears of the new Chinese coronavirus. The virus has been spreading quickly in China and in the Wuhan province where it has infected thousands of people.
The airline in a statement said that it will be suspending flight in phase, flights between Vietnam and Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen will be suspended from Tuesday itself while flights to and from Chengdu will be suspended from the next day. Flights to Macau will be suspended from Thursday onwards.
The airline in its statement advised all passengers, especially Vietnamese that were visiting China to adjust their plans to fly back home. The statement also added that the airline will be suspending flights between Hanoi and Hong Kong from Thursday and also reduce the regularity of flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Hong Kong to 7 from 10 per week.
The Vietnamese Government also announced on Thursday that it will stop issuing visas for Chinese tourists after three cases of coronavirus were discovered in Vietnam.
A recent study published by a team led by Gabriel Leung from the University of Hong Kong has reported that the actual number of people that have been infected by the deadly new coronavirus could be as high as 75,000 people that is a staggering ten times the official number provided by the Chinese authorities.
According to Chinese officials, the number of confirmed cases has crossed 10,000 with over 250 deaths already. According to the study, the discrepancy between their figure and the figures of the government could be caused by a time lag between infection and symptom onset, delays in infected persons getting medical treatment, and the time needed to confirm cases with lab tests.
The study added that each infected person may have possibly infected a minimum of two or three more people and if the number of confirmed cases keeps increasing in the same rate as it has in the past few weeks then it is possible that there already growing epidemics in multiple Chinese cities just a week or two behind Wuhan.
In more chilling news, the study also said that large overseas cities which have close transport links to China could also become outbreak centres. Confirmed cases of the deadly new coronavirus have already been discovered in other nations like Japan, Singapore and most recent one being in India.
(with inputs from agencies)