Travellers wear masks as they arrive at the Dubai International Airport. File / Reuters
The UAE on Monday announced the suspension of all flights to and from China, with the exception of the country's capital, Beijing, which will remain unaffected.
The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said in a statement that the suspension would come into force on Feb.5, 2020 — until further notice — adding that the decision is part of precautionary measures undertaken by the UAE to confront the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
"We continue to put our confidence in the Chinese Government’s efforts to control and contain the situation," the statement stressed.
The GCAA stated that all passengers travelling from Beijing International Airport will be required to undergo a 6-8 hour comprehensive medical screening at the airport to ensure the safety of passengers before boarding.
It also urged airlines to communicate the new procedures with passengers to avoid flight delays.
The GCAA said the decision to suspend flights came after studying and analysing the current conditions on the spread of the virus, adding that it coordinated with international agencies and worked closely with national agencies such as the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, NCEMA, the Ministry of Health and Prevention, MoHAP, Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines.
It went on to say that NCEMA and other relevant authorities are "continuously evaluating the situation in China and will make decisions accordingly."
The Authority noted that all incoming and outgoing flights to Wuhan - the city at the centre of the crisis - have been cancelled since Jan.23, 2020.
It concluded by advising passengers to contact their airlines for updates on affected flights.
The aviation industry has been among the worst hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, which has dented travel demand and forced major airlines to lay off staff and seek government bailouts.
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