United joins American, Delta in suspending China flights until April

February 13, 2020
airlines coronavirus
Photo: China News Service/Wikimedia Commons

United Airlines has announced it will join Delta and American in extending the suspension of flights to China and Hong Kong until late April due to the coronavirus.

The decision came as a change in detection methods in China saw a big jump in deaths and infections.

The number of deaths jumped by 242 in disease epicenter Hubei province while 14,840 new cases were confirmed.

Authorities in China had previously only counted those people who had tested positive but reports said they were now counting those who had been clinically diagnosed.

The new cases saw the global infection count top  60,000 and the global death toll rose to 1368.

The US majors are among a slew of international airlines that have canceled or reduced services to China or Hong Kong.

Chinese carriers have also cut services and route expert OAG estimated earlier this week that two-thirds of international airline capacity to and from China had been canceled.

READ: Coronavirus slashes China’s international capacity by two-thirds.

United said it was suspending flights until April 24. It flies to Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai and said it would continue to monitor the situation in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and public health experts around the world.

Delta has suspended flights until April 30 while American has stopped flying to mainland China through to April 24 and to Hong Kong until April 23.

Japan’s All Nippon Airways also announced Thursday it was suspending or reducing flights on more routes as a result of the virus.

In addition to a substantial list of changes already announced, ANA will also suspend its Haneda-Shanghai service and reduce flights on Kansai-Beijing, Narita-Quingdao and Narita Dalian.

Australia Thursday was set to extend a 14-day travel ban on travelers entering from China amid predictions the coronavirus could wipe $A6 billion off GDP and result in a quarter of negative growth.

More than 1.3 million Chinese visited Australia last year and spent about $US11.5 billion in a major boost to the economy.

Australian universities are also heavily reliant on Chinese students for additional income.