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Hong Kong and Taiwanese Airlines Take Steps to Prevent Coronavirus Spread
As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan’s, the most affected and adjacent territories to the epicenter, local airlines have carried out new measures to help stop the spread of the disease.
StarLux Airlines, a brand new Taiwan-based airline which launched services two days before the Lunar New Year, announced on Feb. 8 the suspension of its Macau service. The new airline continues to operate flights out of Taipei to Penang, Malaysia, and Da Nang, Vietnam. The airline also announced it will postpone the new services to Cebu until July.
In response to the virus outbreak, The Taiwanese government prohibited the entry of all mainland Chinese, Hongkongers, Macau citizens and foreign nationals who have visited China in the last 14 days. Also, the government banned group tours to China until Apr. 30.
Eva Air and Uni Air have ceased 532 flights to China and both airlines plan not to resume the services to China before March. In addition, China Airlines and Mandarin Air scrapped 218 flights to China until Feb. 22. According to Taiwan’s local media, China Airlines suspended the recruitment of new cabin crew.
In Hong Kong, after months of social unrest, Cathay Pacific is facing more severe turbulence. The struggling airline asked its staff to take three weeks of unpaid leave. Furthermore, the airline has announced additional cancelations to their flying program, some North American and European cities, such as Washington, Newark, London Gatwick, and Rome will be suspended until Mar. 28 as part of a 30 percent reduction in global operations.
In the early phase of the virus outbreak, Cathay Pacific carried out measures to protect its staff including permission for cabin crew to wear masks on the flights to China. Inflight amenities such as pillows, blankets, hot towels and magazines will not be offered in any classes. In addition, onboard duty-free sales are suspended.
Cathay Pacific continue to serve four Chinese cities services, including Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and Chengdu. However, Cathay’s cabin crew have urged the Hong Kong-based airline to terminate all flights to China immediately to protect staff and the city.
StarLux has also taken preventative measures against the disease by requiring all employees to wear masks, gloves, etc. Temperature screening will also be carried out for all staff.
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