Virgin Australia scraps flights to Hong Kong

Shoppers lining up Friday at a pharmacy in central Hong Kong to buy tissue paper said they felt compelled to stock up.

Following the measure's implementation on Saturday morning, the Shenzhen Bay Port, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and the airport, were now the only entry points to Hong Kong that remained open, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper said in a report.

Hong Kong has confirmed 26 cases, while about 34,600 people have been infected with the virus in China.

Yesterday it announced plans to cut 90 per cent of its flights into mainland China and reduce its total network capacity by 30 per cent in the next two months.

Those caught breaking their quarantine face up to six months in jail and a HK$25,000 ($3,200) fine.

Hong Kong Airlines said in a statement today the firm had to take "vigorous measures" to mitigate its challenges. In addition, volunteers and officials will carry out spot checks and make daily phone calls to ensure that people are self-quarantining.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China has taken effective measures to minimise the possibility of virus spreading in airplanes and to ensure travellers' safety and health on worldwide flights, she said.

France evacuates citizens from Wuhan as coronavirus death toll reaches over 130
While no confirmed case has been recorded in India, its immediate neighbours - Nepal and Sri Lanka- have reported one case each. Health Secretary Alex Azar said that the option is on the table but a final decision hasn't been made yet.

"The problem of supply shortage doesn't exist", said Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung. "There is no need for the public to worry", it said.

Both carriers had previously said they were halting flights to mainland China where the outbreak of the new coronavirus began late past year and has since killed almost 500 people and infected more than 24,000.

Overall, the virus has infected more than 31,000 people.

However, those who have family, work and home obligations are expected to stay in China despite the lockdown in many areas and the infection of more than 20,000 with the virus and a death toll of 427.

The outbreak has been declared a global health emergency, prompting several governments to warn against travel to China and ban new arrivals from the country.

The carrier announced Tuesday afternoon that it is suspending flights to Hong Kong beginning February 8.

Anyone who has been to mainland China in the last 14 days and then flies to Hong Kong from another destination will also be quarantined.

  • Darren Santiago