Kuwait cancels all flight services to China and Hong Kong. The ban applies to Kuwaiti nationals as well as other residents who stayed in these countries at any point during the last two weeks. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Kuwait: Kuwait has suspended travel to and from China and Hong Kong in the wake of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. The decision was announced to airline companies operating at Kuwait International Airport, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation of Kuwait said in a statement.

The ban also covers all Kuwaiti citizens as well as those with residence permits or visas in Kuwait who stayed in China or Hong Kong in the past two weeks. The World Health Organisation called an emergency meeting Thursday and declared the outbreak an international emergency.

European carriers led by British Airways said they’re quitting China as the deadly coronavirus spreads, though US operators plan to retain some flights for now. BA took the most dramatic step, saying it will cease flights to Beijing and Shanghai until March 1 after acting on UK Foreign Office advice.

Iberia, its Spanish sister carrier at IAG SA, is also suspending operations, while Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Air France and SAS AB said they’ll exit China until February 9.

A decline of 10 per cent in Chinese traffic could clip global passenger growth by 2.8 percentage points, reducing it to 1.4 per cent, according to Nick Cunningham, an analyst at Agency Partners in London. “The slowdown is likely to extend beyond China and to impact elective travel more widely. Major corporations will limit travel, and if this goes on for a while, global traffic may not grow at all for the year.”