WUHAN VIRUS / All Taiwan-Wuhan flights canceled amid virus outbreak

Taipei-All direct flights between Taiwan and Wuhan City in central China have been canceled, starting Thursday, as Chinese officials have imposed a lockdown on the city as part of their efforts to prevent the spread of a deadly new coronavirus, according to Taiwan's transportation ministry.

In Taiwan, it means the cancellation of a total of 12 round-trip flights per week, which are operated by two Taiwanese carriers -- China Airlines (CAL) and Mandarin Airlines -- and two Chinese airlines, China Eastern and China Southern, the ministry said.

CAL and Mandarin Airlines said they will suspend all flights between Taiwan and Wuhan through Feb. 27.

Earlier in the day, Chinese authorities announced the suspension of all public transportation out of Wuhan, including commercial flights, public buses, trains and river boats.

Since the new infectious disease, dubbed the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), emerged in Wuhan in December last year, China has reported 570 cases and 17 deaths.

A few cases have also been reported recently in other countries, including Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the United States.

On Wednesday, the emergency committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) met in Geneva to discuss the outbreak but did not declare the virus a "public health emergency of international concern," which would have required a coordinated global response. The committee is expected to take up the issue again on Thursday.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel