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Italy suspends all China flights after coronavirus cases confirmed, PM says

Israel not accepting flights from China, El Al suspends route

Egyptair to suspend all flights to and from China


Two cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Italy, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told reporters on Thursday. Both patients were Chinese tourists, according to news reports.

Italy closed air traffic to and from China, although the WHO urged countries not to limit trade with or travel to that country as the world body declares the mysterious killer coronavirus a "global emergency"

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte however stopped all flights between Italy and China following the discovery that two Chinese tourists in a separate case had been confirmed as having the deadly SARS-like virus.

Over 6,000 tourists had spent around 12 hours in lockdown on the Costa Smeralda. Some of the 1,400 or so passengers due to permanently disembark in Civitavecchia began getting off late Thursday.

Some 1,000 new passengers were due to board in the port near Rome, and Costa Cruises said the liner would set sail again on Friday.

The news came as the UN health agency declared an international emergency over the coronavirus from China, which reported its biggest single-day jump in deaths.

Costa Cruises said a 54-year old woman from Macau "was placed in solitary confinement in the on-board hospital last night with her travel companion".

Some 750 other Chinese passengers were on board and all appear to be in good health.

"People are irritable and exasperated," one passenger who was on board with his wife told ANSA news agency, before the go-ahead to disembark. Another described it as "a very stressful day".

The Smeralda, the company's flagship and the fifth-largest cruise ship in the world, had sailed in from Palma de Mallorca as part of a one-week trip in the western Mediterranean.

Meanwhile Israel's Health Ministry also said it will not allow flights from China to land at its airports and the country's flag carrier El Al Israel Airlines suspended flights to Beijing until March 25.

The ministry had scaled back the number of arrivals from China and issued health warnings to those arriving. It has now banned flights from China landing in the country, a ministry spokesman said.

Likewise, Egyptair has suspended all flights to and from China starting on Saturday, the civil aviation ministry said in a statement.


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