Turkey’s national carrier, Turkish Airlines, is suspending flights to mainland China over the coronavirus outbreak until at least February 9. The move was announced on Friday by the company’s CEO after the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a global emergency. Some 8,000 people in mainland China were declared infected as of Thursday, with close to 200 having died. Scores of cases have been confirmed elsewhere, including the Middle East, where the United Arab Emirates announced on Wednesday that members of a family visiting from Wuhan, said to be the epicenter of the outbreak, have coronavirus. Turkish is one of the world’s largest airlines, having positioned itself in recent years as a global air hub owing to the location of its base in Istanbul, which helps facilitate travel between Europe and the East. The destinations being affected for now are Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Xian – the latter having been inaugurated just a month ago.
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