American and Delta Airlines announced they are suspending flights to China in response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak which has killed more than 200 people.
American suspended all flights to China Friday through March 27, while Delta was to stop service next week.
Delta said it is suspending all of its US flights to China starting this upcoming Wednesday, due to ‘ongoing concerns’ over the coronavirus. The flight ban will last until April 30, the US carrier says.
Both bans were announced after the the World Health Organization determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern,’ and the US State Department issued its highest-level warning against travel to China on Thursday.
American Airlines suspended all flights to China Friday due to concerns over coronavirus, and was to continue the ban until March 27
Delta Airlines is suspending all of its US flights to China starting this upcoming Wednesday, due to ‘ongoing concerns’ over the coronavirus
Passengers wearing respiratory masks out of concerns over the coronavirus outbreak are pictured in transit on Friday, as American and Delta airlines were announcing bans on travel to and from China
Chinese officials fired back after the US advisory, saying it was an ‘inappropriate response’, while promising that the coronavirus which began late last year in Wuhan, would get under control.
Cases, on a global scale, have now risen to 9,950, Bloomberg reports. Sweden and Russia on Friday became the latest countries to record cases of the virus.
Health officials in Sweden confirmed a patient is being treated at the Ryhov County Hospital in Jönköping – 95miles (153km) east of Gothenburg.
While two cases have also been recorded in Russia. Both patients are in Siberia – but are thought to be around 2,485miles(4,000km) apart.
The development comes after Germany announced its sixth case – a child in Munich who is reported to be in a stable condition.
The flu-like illness has been blamed for the deaths of at least 213 people in China, which admitted it reacted too slowly to the outbreak.
American Airlines, the world’s largest passenger airline having flown more than 215 million people in 2019, says it made its decision to cancel flights to China after the State Department’s China Travel Advisory was raised to its highest level possible.
The advisory was upgraded Thursday, the same day of World Health Organization’s declaration of a public health emergency.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump dismissed six known US cases of coronavirus as a ‘very little problem’ in an effort to reassure the American public.
Funeral workers disinfect themselves after handling a virus victim in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province, Thursday. So far, the flu-like illness has been blamed for the deaths of more than 200 people in China, which admitted it reacted too slowly to the outbreak
Officials in protective suits gathered on a street after an elderly man wearing a face mask (not pictured) collapsed and died on the pavement near a hospital in Wuhan
A medical staff helps an aged couple walking in a hospital in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province Thursday, the same day the World Health Organization determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’
‘Germaphobe’ Trump dismisses six-known US cases of Coronavirus as a ‘very little problem’
President Donald Trump dismissed US cases of coronavirus as a ‘very little problem’ on Thursday in an effort to reassure the American public despite the World Health Organization’s declaration that the outbreak is a global health emergency.
The new coronavirus spreading from China has also spread from one infected person who visited China to another who had not been to the outbreak’s epicenter.
As a result of both developments, the US State Department has issued its strictest travel warning, advising Americans not to go to China, where more than 200 people have died an nearly 10,000 are sick with the new disease.
But Trump – a self-described ‘germaphobe’ – said that the six US cases are a ‘very little problem,’ while speaking at a Michigan manufacturing plant on Thursday.
Trump generally has discussed the virus in broad terms, but he offered some of his most extensive comments on the issue to date during an appearance Thursday at a Michigan manufacturing plant.
‘Hopefully, it won’t be as bad as some people think it could be, but we’re working very closely with [the Chinese government] and with a lot of other people and a lot of other countries,’ he said. ‘We think we have it very well under control.’
The state department, however, warned that ‘travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. Commercial carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China.’
Nola Lu, a public relations specialist in Austin, Texas, made a public tweet to get American Airlines’ attention to help her mother, whose flight was cancelled out of China.
‘@AmericanAir My mom is now stranded in Shanghai with the news that all AA flights to China are suspended until Mar. 27. She was originally scheduled to fly back to Austin on Feb. 16. What are her options? What can you do to help?’ wrote Lu.
The airline responded that it was reducing its operations to China, but still had ‘limited flights there and back’, and that that the air carrier would contact her ‘if her travels are affected’.
Lu responded back that the airline may not have an easy time reaching out to her mother. ‘Being in China, she has limited to no access to calls, emails or even news of what’s going on. I’m her proxy trying to solve this situation’, Lu wrote back.
One traveler who goes by @BePopK tweeted that their flight out of China was abruptly cancelled.
‘OMG!!!! They cancelled the China to SG leg of our flight without telling us!!!!! Wth?!?!’ the traveler tweeted, adding in a follow up post that the cancelled flight was refunded.
Another Twitter user, Matt Rieck, posted a question to Delta asking when he would be notified of his cancelled flight after reading or a possible cancellation that was coming in a news report.
‘Why am I learning of my flight cancellation from a @USATODAY article?’ the traveler who goes by @and_per_se on the social media platform.
Other travelers were turning to social media to complain of confusion over the bans.
‘All flights?’ tweeted @Dr.Anonymous, ‘Or just flights to China, because I am way concerned about the flights coming from China.’
A Twitter user who goes by @RandyinNebraska posted an image of a traveler in a surgical mask posing with an airport official in a containment suit, saying his friend had just returned from Changsha, and that the Chinese city of 8 million people four hours south of Wuhan had turned into a ‘ghost town’.
Some online even took it upon themselves to demand that President Trump impose a complete ban on all flights into China.
A traveler who goes by @BePopK tweeted that their flight out of China was abruptly cancelled
Matt Rieck posted a question to Delta asking when he would be notified of his cancelled flight after reading or a possible cancellation that was coming in a news report
Other travelers were turning to social media to complain of confusion over the bans.
A Twitter user who goes by @RandyinNebraska posted an image of a traveler in a surgical mask posing with an airport official in a containment suit, saying his friend had just returned from Changsha, the Chinese city of 8 million people just four hours south of Wuhan
@RichardJFan was among those online turning to US President Donald Trump, demanding that he impose complete ban on all flights into China
American said its employees are reaching out to passengers, to ‘directly to accommodate their needs’.
The carrier also was to evaluate its schedule for March 28 ‘and beyond’ to make adjustments to the ban as necessary.
Until Delta’s ban goes into effect, the carrier says it will continue to operate flights to accommodate those passengers who are able to leave China, the carrier said in a press release on its website.
The carrier said that the ‘last China-bound flight departing the US will leave this Monday, with the last return flight back to the US departing China on Wednesday.
Delta plans to ‘continue to monitor the situation closely and may make additional adjustments as the situation continues to evolve.’
Tourists from Wuhan, China, line up to get a seat on a charter flight returning to Wuhan at Suvarnabhumi airport, Bangkok, Thailand, Friday
Football player evacuated from Wuhan amid coronavirus panic shares video of journey home and says he’s been INUNDATED with messages from women who want to be ‘quarantined with him’
An American football player who was evacuated from Wuhan on a State Department plane amid the coronavirus outbreak has revealed to DailyMail.com videos and photos from inside the California air base where he is now being held – and the many messages he is now receiving from female fans asking to be ‘quarantined’ with him.
Jarred Evans, who is from New York but has spent the last football season in Wuhan playing for the Wuhan Berserkers, was among some 200 US citizens who were flown out of the Chinese city this week.
Now, he is being held on the March Air Base in Riverside, California, until he is cleared to travel home.
Evans has not tested positive for the virus but vigilant medics at the air base are eager for everyone there to spend at least three days under observation.
In an interview with DailyMail.com on Friday morning, he revealed that while people are not going into each other’s rooms on the base, they are mingling outdoors and playing football together.
‘It’s being taken very seriously but it’s also relaxed… we talk to each other outside,’ he said.
Jarred Evans was evacuated from Wuhan back to the US earlier this week. He spoke to DailyMail.com on Friday from the air base in California where he is now being held in quarantine
Sharing photos and videos from the flight, he said everyone on the plane cheered and applauded when they landed.
‘We’re just happy to be home,’ he said, while sparing a thought for the other US citizens and millions of Chinese people still trapped in shut-down Wuhan.
Evans was in China preparing for his next season, in Switzerland, when the coronavirus panic spread.
He said it began in the second week of January. A Chinese-speaking friend of his told him that he’d just seen an alert on the state news agency about a virus and warned him to go and stock up on food and water.
‘I didn’t speak Chinese but my friends were like, ‘be careful.’ Three days later my friend said, ‘Go to the store now with a face mask and gloves and get as much as you can. They’re going to shut down the city.’
‘I took it as a joke. [I thought], I’m from New York which is a city of seven million people. In Wuhan there are 11 million. I’m thinking, they’re not going to shut down an entire city, but sure enough they did.
An official in a hazmat suit counts the passengers on the plane before take off
On board the plane, Evans said passengers had their temperatures checked every few hours
‘It turned into a frenzy. People were fighting over masks, fighting over food. There were lines out the doors of stores. The shelves were empty,’ he said
Evans said he stocked up on 10 gallons of water and as much ‘bacon, chicken, eggs, rice and noodles’ that he could find.
‘I was bracing myself to survive this for two or three weeks, a month in my home.
Evans said he had been prepared to stay in his apartment for weeks if he had to
‘Honestly, nobody went outside. Eleven million people are inside their homes. No one is going outside. It is a complete shut down.’
He paid his gas and electricity bills in advance to ensure they would remain on and hunkered down in his apartment to wait out the crisis.
Then, he was alerted to the American government’s announcement that they would send a plane for US citizens.
After contacting the embassy in Beijing and providing his information, he was told he’d been given one of the coveted seats on the plane.
‘One of the rules we weren’t to share on social media. I heard and saw a couple people weren’t allowed into the airport – you’re not on the list, you gotta go.
‘As a US citizen, seeing other US citizens not able to go home to their families… if I was in that situation, I wouldn’t know what to do.
‘I would have been hurt. My heart and my prayers not only the US citizens there but the Chinese friends I have because this is scary,’ he said.
During the roughly 18 hour flight, Evans said medics in hazmat suits checked passengers’ temperatures at least 15 times.
The plane itself was a cargo plane that had been specially outfitted with commercial passenger seats.
‘It was not Emirates,’ he joked.
The flight took them from Wuhan to Alaska, where they cleared customs, and then on to California. Once there, they were assigned rooms on the base.
Jarred’s room at the air base. He said he plans to stay there until the end of the weekend then fly back to New York
Evans said he already has fans before his virus story hit but that now, women are messaging him telling him how much they would like to be quarantined with him
While there are still strict checks in place, the mood on the base is not as high alert now as it first was, he said.
If anything, the virus outbreak has brought Evans an increase in female fans.
While he bashfully admitted already receiving compliments from his vast social media following, he told DailyMail.com there had been a change in the types of messages he was now receiving.
‘Holy moly…. I have a lot of followers anyway but these people are different now.
‘There’s definitely an increase. I got a message this morning where the girl said, ‘I jut saw you on the news. I would definitely want to be quarantined with you!’ A lot of people have just pretty much given me their best wishes, saying they’re glad I am home.’
Evans says he plans to spend no more than a few more nights on the base before traveling home to New York and then onto Switzerland to carry on with sport.
He said he would eventually return to China but not until it is safe.
‘It’s a beautiful place – I love the people there and the culture. It’s getting a bad name right now but it’s beautiful,’ he said.
Coronavirus has now claimed more than 200 lives worldwide.
There are six confirmed cases in the US.