Jetstar has stopped flights to mainland China in response to the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
The decision comes as more than 7,000 people globally have been infected with the virus, including nine Australians.
At least 162 people have now died, most of whom lived in Wuhan – the deserted Chinese city at the heart of the outbreak.
Jetstar will freeze all flights into Hefei, Guiyang and Xuzhou until at least March 31 in an attempt to isolate the disease.
The final flights into each city will depart Singapore on Thursday.
Chinese tourists wearing protective masks queue at Don Mueang airport in Bangkok, Thailand, as they wait to board flights back to China
Jetstar will freeze all flights into Hefei, Guiyang and Xuzhou until at least March 31 in an attempt to isolate the disease
Passengers who have been affected by the airline’s decision will be contacted and offered a full refund.
A spokesman for Jetstar said while the airline does not fly directly to Wuhan, they have seen a drop in demand for flights to any Chinese cities.
The decision comes after a Chinese man with coronavirus shared a flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast with up to 200 others when he was sick.
Four fellow travellers have already fallen ill.
Queensland health authorities are trying to track down everyone who was on the man’s Tiger Airways flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast on January 27.
Pictured: Medical staff with coronavirus patient in Wuhan, China
The killer coronavirus outbreak has now killed 162 people and struck down more than 7,000 in 19 different countries. Cases have been spotted in Canada, US, France and Australia
He had started to exhibit symptoms of the potentially deadly virus at the time he took the flight, and got steadily sticker after arriving on the Gold Coast.
The 44-year-old spent about 24 hours in the community before calling an ambulance and being taken to hospital where tests revealed he had the virus.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young says eight other people were in a tour group with the man, and four of them are sick.
‘There are eight other people who were in that tour group and they are all currently in isolation in the Gold Coast University Hospital. Four of them are unwell and being tested today,’ she told reporters in Brisbane.
‘We’ll get those results later today. Four of them are well at this time, but we will continue to monitor them.’
Since the outbreak of coronavirus at the end of December, Chinese authorities have placed 56 million people in lockdown. Pictured is a Chinese health worker taking a patient’s temperature
While the infected Queenslander spent time in Melbourne too, Dr Young said she was most concerned about the people who shared his flight or came into contact with him on the Gold Coast.
‘My concern is the 150 to 200 people on that plane when he started getting symptoms, and then the 24 hours in the community on the Gold Coast,’ she said.
Dr Young said anyone who spent two hours or more exposed to an infectious person in a confined space could be at risk. The flight time from Melbourne to the Gold Coast is about two hours.
She said she did not know where the man was staying but media reports say it was in large, high-rise accommodation at Broadbeach.
The man came from Wuhan – the Chinese city at the epicentre of the virus outbreak – and flew to Melbourne via Singapore, landing there on January 22 and then heading to the Gold Coast on January 27.
Wuhan residents wear facemasks as they wait for medical attention at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital to prevent the spread of the deadly virus which began in the city
Tiger Airways says it’s in the process of contacting affected passengers and crew members, and would direct them to see their doctors.
‘The safety of our passengers and our crew is always our number one priority and we are working closely with the Queensland Health department on this matter,’ the airline said in a statement.
Anyone who was on the flight has also be urged to call Queensland Health to ensure they take the safest and most appropriate action.
Global airlines including British Airways have already suspended all flights to Mainland China to help stop the spread of the disease.
Others across the globe have significantly cut back their fleet’s trips to the nation.
Qantas is monitoring the situation and will follow health warnings.
Coronavirus in Australia: The facts and figures
* Five people have the virus after returning from China’s Hubei province, where coronavirus first surfaced in December. All are being treated in hospital and in a stable condition.
* About 400 Australian citizens have registered for evacuation from the city of Wuhan in Hubei.
* At this stage, health authorities do not believe people can pass on coronavirus unless they are showing symptoms, but the virus does have a relatively long incubation period of two weeks.
* Federal advice to school students who have returned to Australia from China is that if they are healthy, it is reasonable for them to attend school. If they have been in contact with somebody with coronavirus, they should not attend school for up to 14 days.
* But some Australian private schools have told students who have recently visited China to stay at home for a fortnight. Brisbane’s Stuartholme School for girls will keep 10 of its boarders in quarantine for two weeks after they arrived from China this week.
* Four confirmed cases are being treated at Westmead Hospital: a 21-year-old University of NSW student who was diagnosed after flying back from the virus epicentre in Wuhan, and three men aged 35, 43 and 53.
* Six potential cases are being assessed.
* One confirmed case, a man in his 50s, is being treated at Monash Medical Centre while four of his family are under home isolation.
* Thirteen people have been tested, but authorities do not believe they are likely to have the virus.
* 42 Victorians have tested negative.
* Six people tested, awaiting results.
* One person tested and cleared.
* Four people tested and cleared.
* Four people tested negative.
* A women in her 20s who recently travelled to China is being tested for coronavirus in Launceston after becoming unwell.
* A man was discharged from hospital on Sunday after testing negative.
* Some 132 people have died from the virus in China
* The number of confirmed cases in China is 5974.
* In Thailand, which the worst affected country outside of China, the death toll is currently 14.
* The infection has also spread to most of Australia’s regional neighbours including Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam and Cambodia.
* The Australian government has told its citizens to reconsider travel to China and to avoid Hubei province where the virus first appeared in December.
* There are no travel warnings yet for other destinations in the Asian region.
* Global health authorities are on alert for cases of human-to-human transmission of the virus outside China, which could speed up infection rates.
* So far this has occurred in Germany, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam.
* Higher rates of human-to-human transmission is a reflection of the adaptability of the virus, which was is believed to have initially been transmitted to humans by animals.