As a result of growing international concern about coronavirus, KLM announced yesterday evening that it would be shutting down all of its flights to China from the beginning of next week onwards. The Dutch government has also issued travel advice warning citizens to avoid travel to China if at all possible, RTL Nieuws reports.
On Wednesday, the Dutch airline had already cancelled its flights to Chengdu, Hangzhou and Xiamen, mostly because of the declining number of people willing to travel to China. The airline will keep its flights to Beijing and Shanghai going up to and including this weekend, in order to facilitate Dutch people trapped in China getting home.
After the flights are fully cancelled, on the 2nd, the airline expects them to remain so for at least a week, but likely for longer. AirFrance, KLM’s sister company, has completely cancelled its flights to China as well, as a result of staff discontent.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs also released updated travel advice for those considering a trip to China yesterday evening. Travellers should avoid the province of Hubei, where Wuhan, the city where the virus originated, is located.”Don’t travel to Hubei province,” was the takeaway from their travel advice. “You cannot enter or exit Wuhan and other major cities in Hubei province by road, by train, or by air. Travel to the rest of mainland China only if necessary.”
According to the Ministry, the Dutch embassy in Beijing reports that the measures the Chinese government is taking to prevent the spread of disease are having a massive impact on the daily life of those living in China. Less public transport is available, much fewer national and international flights are available, and “schools, tourist locations, public facilities and many companies and government organisations are closed until further notice,” the Ministry reports.
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