Travel restricted as coronavirus plays havoc with events schedule

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Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

Travel restrictions are in force around the world as the number of cases of novel coronavirus continues to grow worldwide — and the death toll in China mounts.

European flag carriers British Airways, Lufthansa and Air France have suspended services to China until at least February 9th, while, in America, Delta Air Lines Inc. and American Airlines Group Inc. have suspended all flights to China to as late as the end of April.

United Airlines will suspend service to Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu from Feb 6th.

The outbreak is causing disruption to meetings and events across the region. Last week a UN meeting to help protect the world’s biodiversity, due to take place in the city of Kunming, in the Yunnan province, 24-29 February, was moved to Rome, Italy.

Today organisers of IT&CM China and CTW China said they were delaying the 2020 co-located events, scheduled for next month, until 3 - 5 August, subject to the control of the outbreak.

Organisers TTG and china-based CITS MICE said they would ‘continue to monitor the situation closely and provide further updates when necessary’.

“This course of action of deferring mass gatherings including large-scale exhibitions and conferences like IT&CM China and CTW China, is in line with advisories by health and government authorities (e.g. WHO) to prevent, contain, and mitigate spread of the virus,” they said in a joint statement.

“Further, as the status of the outbreak is constantly evolving, the postponement of the event is deemed to be the most appropriate step at this point when travel risk to / within China is heightened, and health and safety are immediate concerns on the top of everyone’s minds.”

The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus epidemic a global health emergency, and efforts to contain its spread have led to dozens of airlines canceling flights or suspending service to the country altogether. American Airlines' suspension of all flights to China comes after its pilots' union filed a lawsuit last Thursday to stop flights to the country.

A number of governments and airlines in Asia have announced travel restrictions to mainland China, as well as for those recently returning from the country. Destination management company Destination Asia issued the following advice notice to its clients:


The Indonesian government has declared a ban on flights to and from mainland China from February 5th onwards and will not allow visitors who have stayed in China in the past 14 days to enter or transit.


The national carrier Vietnam Airlines and the airline Jetstar Pacific said they would stop flying to mainland China. The Vietnamese government also announced it would stop issuing visas for foreign visitors who had been to China in the past 14 days.


The Singaporean Prime Minister moved to bar entry into Singapore to all travelers arriving from mainland China, including foreigners who have been there in the last 14 days. Visitors are restricted from entering or transiting through the island nation since midnight on Saturday 01 February.


Sabah and Sarawak’s state cabinet announced a ban on all flights from China. Sabah and Sarawak have autonomy over immigration in their territory. The ban has not been imposed by mainland Malaysia.


On Thursday 30 January, Hong Kong temporarily closed certain transportation links and border checkpoints connecting Hong Kong with mainland China and restricted ferry services from Macau.


The Japanese government is now refusing foreign nationals entry to Japan if they have stayed in Hubei within the previous 14 days.


Currently, there are no travel restrictions between these countries and China.

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.

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