Airlines in China have begun cancelling flights to a growing list of international destinations, in light of travel restrictions imposed following a novel coronavirus outbreak.  

As the number of confirmed cases in China and around the world continues to climb, countries like Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and the United States are denying entry to foreign nationals who have recently been in China. 

Air China, in a 2 February service notice on its website, states that it will be cancelling all flights between Mainland China and Singapore, Vietnam and Australia. 

Through February, Air China will suspend its twice-daily flights between Beijing Capital and Singapore, as well as its four times weekly service to Chengdu. 

During the same period, the Star Alliance carrier will cancelling its daily Beijing Capital-Melbourne and Beijing Capital-Sydney flights.  

From 3 February to 28 March, its thrice-weekly Chengdu-Sydney flights will be suspended.

As for flights to Vietnam, Air China states it is suspending all flights effective 2 February until the end of March. The four routes affected are: Beijing Capital-Ho Chi Minh City, Beijing Capital-Hanoi, Hangzhou-Nha Trang, as well as Chongqing-Nha Trang. 

Air China’s latest round of cancellations comes a day after it suspended all flights to Italy and Mongolia. 

China Eastern and China Southern have not publicly announced capacity cuts, but checks on the respective carriers’ websites indicates it has quietly cancelled flights, mostly to countries which have imposed travel restrictions, such as Singapore and Italy. 

Juneyao Air, meanwhile, has cancelled flights from its Shanghai Pudong hub to Taipei, Bangkok, Macau, as well as Singapore. These cancellations took effect 1 and 2 February, the airline states. 

Chinese low-cost carrier Spring Airlines has suspended flights to several points in its network, such as Osaka Kansai, Phnom Penh, Singapore, Bangkok and Seoul Incheon. 

In recent days, a growing number of airlines have cancelled flights into China, in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Major carriers like the Lufthansa Group, Singapore Airlines Group, British Airways, United Airlines and American Airlines have either entirely stopped flying into China, or have cut capacity into the country. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on 30 January declared the coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Chinese state media reported on 2 February that the number of confirmed cases in the country has hit 14,000, with the death toll rising above 300. Most of the deaths occurred in Hubei province, which is the epicentre of the outbreak. 

The Philippines also reported its first death from the coronavirus outbreak outside of China. The deceased was a 44-year-old Wuhan resident who travelled from China to the Philippines.