DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – The United Arab Emirates, a major international transit hub, on Monday suspended flights to and from China, except for Beijing, following the outbreak of the new coronavirus in China.
It was not immediately clear if the UAE suspension, which cuts most air links with one of its largest trading partners, includes Hong Kong. The suspension is effective Wednesday.
China is facing mounting isolation from international travel curbs and flight suspensions as the death toll from the virus rises.
The UAE suspension, which state media said was until further notice, effects Dubai’s Emirates, one of the world’s biggest long-haul airlines, and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways.
Emirates flies to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Hong Kong, according to its website, and several Chinese carriers fly to its Dubai International hub, one of the world’s busiest airports.
Etihad flies to Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Hong Kong, according to its website.
In China, 361 people have died with more than 17,000 infected from the virus, which originated in the central city of Wuhan. At least another 171 cases have been reported in more than two dozen other countries and regions, from the United States to Japan.
Health official have confirmed five cases of the new, fast spreading virus in the UAE, all diagnosed in visiting Chinese citizens.
Those traveling from Beijing to the UAE would have to undergo “comprehensive medical screening” for six to eight hours before they would be allowed to board, the state news agency WAM reported.
The UAE has been screening passengers arriving on direct flights from China since January.
Other Gulf states have also suspended flights to and from China, including Qatar and Oman.
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