Taiwanese airlines halt flights to US, Europe after new Wuhan virus cases

Taiwan's CAL, EVA airlines reduce flights to US, Europe amid Wuhan coronavirus pandemic

EVA Air B-16717 Parked in Taoyuan International Airport Apron.

EVA Air B-16717 Parked in Taoyuan International Airport Apron. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's major carriers, as well as international airlines, are cutting down on flights to and from Europe and the U.S. after a rash of new imported cases of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) were reported over the past few days.

On Saturday (March 14), Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed three new cases of COVID-19, all of whom had traveled to European countries, including the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, and France. On Sunday (March 15), the CECC reported six additional cases, which included individuals with a recent history of travel to the Middle East, Europe, and Japan.

In response, the CECC on Saturday raised its travel advisory for 27 European countries and Dubai to Level 3, meaning that passengers arriving in Taiwan from those areas will have to spend 14 days in quarantine beginning March 17. Taiwan's main air carriers have responded to the crisis by reducing flights on their American and European routes.

EVA Air on Sunday announced on its website that it will reduce its service to Paris from seven flights a week to six, while it said it will make further adjustments to its flights to Europe on Monday as necessary. China Airlines (CAL) announced on its website on Sunday that over the next 20 days, it will be cutting back on flights to New York, Brisbane, Sydney, Auckland, and Vienna.

International carriers have made adjustments as well, with Air France temporarily suspending flights to Taiwan from European destinations. Emirates and KLM airlines on Sunday announced that they will be suspending all flights from Dubai and the Netherlands to Taiwan starting Monday (March 16) due to the growing spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.

Meanwhile, CAL on Saturday announced that overseas customers who have booked flights between Jan. 20 and April 30 but have been barred from entering Taiwan will be eligible to apply for a full refund or reschedule at no additional cost, reported CNA.