Wuhan virus outbreak: Scoot still operating flights to China

FILE PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore

SINGAPORE — Despite the outbreak of a new coronavirus from Wuhan – with some 440 cases reported in China as of Wednesday (22 January) – local airline Scoot has not cancelled any of its flights to China.

In a statement to Yahoo News Singapore, the low-cost carrier – which has daily trips to Wuhan – added that the health advisory measures that it has implemented since the start of the month for passengers arriving from the city have been expanded to include all China flights from Wednesday.

Scoot’s announcement comes on the back of the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) direction to expand temperature screening to all inbound flights from China from Wednesday.

“Scoot has been closely monitoring the situation in Wuhan, as the health and safety of our passengers and employees are our highest priority,” the statement said.

Announcements to passengers

Since the start of the month, the airline has been making inflight announcements to passengers on Wuhan flights to remind them that, upon arrival in China, they should inform customs officials of symptoms such as fever and shortness of breath.

The announcements also state that passengers who return to Singapore should see a doctor if they become unwell within two weeks of their return.

Such announcements will be applied to all of Scoot’s China flights from Wednesday.

Scoot has also been keeping employees informed of the situation in Wuhan, including latest advisories from the MOH. The Straits Times had earlier reported that there are two local Scoot staff based in Wuhan to support its operations.

The airline has also stocked hand sanitisers and surgical masks on Wuhan flights for the crew as well as passengers who need them. It added that similar precautions will be taken for all China flights.

“Scoot also has an aircraft disinfection protocol in place for flights where there have been suspected cases reported,” the airline added, without further elaboration.

Nine people in China died from virus

The coronavirus, which is similar to SARS and pneumonia, emerged last year, with the World Health Organization alerted to its presence by Chinese authorities on 31 December. As of Wednesday, nine people have died from the virus in China.

On 2 January, the MOH said that it was aware of the outbreak and monitoring the situation. Temperature screening was implemented for all travellers arriving at Changi Airport from Wuhan the next day.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Macau, Taiwan and the United States.

In Singapore, seven people have been suspected of having the coronavirus, but all were tested negative.

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